Saturday, May 7, 2016

Website washout?

So after I discovered a pool of water under my washing machine this morning, I was checking out how much a new one was going to cost me. 

And I remembered the ads on TV  for 

So - via a search and ad on Google - I arrived at this page... 

If you look carefully - I've added an arrow - there is something chopped out of the page. 

I was using Firefox, so I checked the page was downloading properly on Chrome ... 

Nope - just the same. However, because it is part of my job [and I have this blog to write :-) ] I even had a look at the page on my iPad, and lo and behold - there was the missing content. 

Now, I would say that the missing content was actually some of the most important 'sales' copy on the page.  Oh dear.

But wait ... it gets even worse: take a look at the web page in Explorer. 


I wonder how much all those TV ads cost? 

I also wonder how much those Google SERP ads cost? 

And I wonder how much it would cost to make sure a website is downloading properly? Or to correct this error?

As a footnote: I shouldn't need to say it, but I've said it so many times before why should I break a habit of 20 years? 

If a web page does not download properly, it is not the fault of the user, their device or its software: it is the fault of the website designer[s].

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Lost in the post?

OK, so I'm being picky - and it's not really a 'digital' thing; but ...

 RS Components is as close as you'll get to being a B2B 'retail' outlet - and generally it is not only very good, but is often held up as an example of effective digital marketing. 

Which is why I was on their website. As part of my visit I looked for my local RS outlet. It was listed as being; 'Newcastle'. 

But when I followed the link to the 'Newcastle' branch's details, I discovered it is in ... Gateshead. Next door - yes. But across the river Tyne and a completely different town.

Maybe it's a historical thing [was the branch originally in Newcastle?], but come on: it's a different place.

I know a number of folk from Gateshead and they are pretty much fed up with being identified as Newcastle's poorer cousin. This is an example of just why that is the case.

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Navigating to a satellite navigator made hard

So I was looking to buy a new Sat Nav. Basically, it was to be an upgrade of the one I have now – so I had already decided the exact device I wanted ... a Garmin 2699 LMT-D.

Obviously, I could have ordered one from any amount of online stores [for around the same price], but this one was slightly bigger than the one I have and I wanted to check it would fit OK on the dash of my car – so I wanted a local bricks-and-mortar store.

I was pretty sure that Currys sold Sat Navs and as my local store is about 2 miles from where  live and a mile from where I work, I went online to check price and availability. But when I arrived on the homepage, I could not see any kind of navigation bar to get to the right department [a navigation bar is pretty much a standard design feature for online retailers]. After a while I realised I was going to have to call up the navigation feature, and clicked on the 'menu'. Which gave me this list ...

Hmmm, I thought, obviously I was wrong – Currys did not sell Sat-Nav systems.

So ... I put "Garmin 2699 LMT-D" into Google and searched on 'shopping' – and guess what the  'best match' came up as ...

Yep, Currys ... and note the message that it was available at my local store. So I clicked on the link, which took me to the following page on Currys' website.
The URL tells you where on the site Sat Navs are located.

I'll let you do the analysis of just why does not seem keen to sell 'broadband and Sat Nav' along with their phones.

FOOTNOTE: I went to my local Currys, and there discovered that they do not stock the Garmin 2699 LMT-D - but they could get one delivered to the shop for tomorrow. I took my £159.99 home with me and ordered it from Amazon. It will be delivered to my place of work in the morning.

I have a background in retail; I understand the cost of stock and stock control. I also understand online and multi-channel retail. I think Currys have just got this wrong. 

Friday, April 1, 2016

Back to the future

So I was looking for a website with information for visitors to Vienna ... and sitting near the top of the Google SERP was this site –

It was full of useful – if limited – information over a number of pages, then I noticed the footer on the pages.
Yep ... it is a sponsored – they say 'powered by' – site. So what's the story?

Well, I can recall that nigh-on 20 years ago I held an 'e-commerce' [that's what we called it then] session for hotel and B&B owners during which, as part of the SEO session, I advised them that including visitor tips on their website would help get to the top of the search engines [yes, engines, there where six main ones and Google was over 10 years away]. Or they could sponsor a tourist website as a kind-of back door way onto the SERPs.
If you were to come across a 'new' online marketer they would call it 'content marketing'.

Friday, March 25, 2016

Not the right salutation solution

Getting your greeting right in a sales scenario can make or break the deal before it even gets started. 

Offline, you make a decision based on what you see, hear and 'feel' - as in 'gut feeling'. 

That final point comes from experience - and you just can't teach experience. Anyhoo, back to the point. 

Online the salutation has to be pre-determined ... coded into the email or web presence; so no seeing, hearing or gut feeling. However, you do have the organization's 'voice', that is, how the organization talks to its customers. This is based on a whole load of things, but mainly the organization's culture, ethos, brand values, the product/service it sells - and its prior relationship with the customer.

Given these issues, I just think that 'Dear Mr Charlesworth' is not right for an email selling holidays.

PS note how the content implies it is a leisure trip not a business trip. For business, 'Mr' might be OK.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

ebay ... nice try, but no cigar

I got this email from ebay.

So here's the thing: 

My car's MOT is due in around 6 weeks [if you're reading this outside the UK, all cars must pass an annual roadworthy test - the MOT]. 

I am assuming that it is no fluke that my MOT is, indeed, due.  How did ebay know? Purchased  data from the relevant government department is my guess. I have no problem with that; if the data is available, use it. You could argue it is good marketing. However, me being me, you know what is coming next. But ...

From their own site visitor data ebay knows [should know] that I am a bit of a 'petrolhead'. And wouldn't someone who has a real interest in cars know when his car's MOT is due. And probably already made plans for any necessary purchases? 

So ... good effort at personalization - but not personal enough for this buyer. And flawed personalization - like any poor targeting - can serve to alienate the customer.

PS: if you have read my Digital Marketingbook this should help with the exercise on page 272 :-)

Amazon: excellent; excellent; bad

Every year I address the issue with my students about a website that has the objective of branding and the website that has the objective of sales. The key difference is in the way content is presented - specifically to sell things there must be appropriate calls-to-action. And this screenshot of the front page of Amazon is a perfect example ...

Notice the urgency, immediacy even, of the message 'today only'. Excellent.

Well, I have been considering a 'fire' device for a while, so a £30 saving appealed to me, and I clicked on the link. Notice how alongside the 'free delivery' message the urgency is hi-lighted by a running countdown clock until the offer end. Excellent.

So I clicked on 'buy now' and got this page ...

Yep ... only available in a sort of pinky-purplish colour they call megenta. 

You guessed it. I don't want a device in that colour.

So ... not only did I not buy one - but I feel I have been part of a 'bait and switch' operation [if you don't know what that is, look it up on Digital Marketing Definitions] - which has left a sour taste of the experience ... and of Amazon.

Saturday, March 19, 2016

Humble flight pie

The previous entry on this blog was one of a whole series of similar comments about KLM/Air France [for they are now one]. 

Well today, this arrived ... 

Of course, me being me, I can't just make a compliment without some kind of caveat, so: pink writing on a light blue background is not the easiest to read.

Saturday, February 6, 2016

This is just not going to fly away

KLM have got a lot of their digital marketing right - but a quick scan on this blog will tell you this is something they just cannot seem to get a grip of. For new readers, I'll set the seen by saying that I have had a KLM 'airmiles' card for around 20 years. In all that time I have only ever flown with them from Newcastle airport. And yet they still keep sending me details of offers flying from other airports.

This one is worse in that I actually booked a flight to Amsterdam [for later in the year] earlier in the week. So, it is as if they are rubbing my nose in by saying 'we started the offer a couple of days after your booking ... but - haha - you wouldn't have qualified anyway as you are flying from Newcastle'. 

It's not rocket science KLM - just add a field to your email messaging so that I only get offers that I might be interested in.

Footnote: yes, I know it is now that it is now KLM/Air France

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Speaking with forked tongue?

I can't work this one out. Is it just poor translation [if so ... it's bad practice from one of the world's biggest online companies] or is it deliberate to remind us it is a Chinese company. I suggest the latter as some of the grammar is perfect and others far from it.