Shortlisted in the Investors in People Awards 2021

We are extremely pleased to announce that we have made the final shortlist for UK Employer of the Year – Platinum in The Investors in People Awards 2021. In a record-breaking year for entries, with nearly three hundred organisations involved, this is an outstanding achievement and one that everyone in the business is proud of.

The Investors in People Awards celebrate the very best organisations and individuals from around the world across various organisational, people, wellbeing and leadership categories. Each year hundreds of organisations from the UK and abroad battle it out to take home one of the sought after trophies to show their award-winning commitment to investing in their people.

Amanda Brooke, Managing Director, said:

It is a privilege to be shortlisted for this award; a clear indication of the dedication and hard work the team has invested in the business. We are passionate about developing our team to help us deliver our business aspirations, they are pivotal to our continued success.

Paul Devoy, CEO of Investors in People, commented:

Now in our 8th year, it always makes me feel immensely proud to see so many fantastic organisations staking their claim to be the best. And every year, the entries do get more and more competitive and the judging even tighter. Reaching the final shortlist is a testament to the amazing commitment these organisations are making to make work better for their people, and they truly deserve this recognition.

How do you migrate a website?

What is website migration?

Website migration is a broad term used within Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) to describe any large scale or highly impactful changes to a website’s location, structure, platform, design, content or user experience (UX). A few examples include:

Why is site migration necessary?

Whether website migration is something you want to do or something you have to do, the general aim is to improve the form, function, and security of your site. Some reasons might be:

Asking yourself why site migration is necessary is an important first step, as well as thorough analysis to ensure there are no simple fixes to the problems you are encountering.

How do you migrate a website successfully?

Contrary to popular belief, it is possible to perform site migration with no loss in traffic or revenue. But this takes research, planning and careful execution. So here are some steps for you to consider…

Strategy

Objectives: Whatever your reasons for wanting/needing to perform a site migration, it is vital to have clear objectives in place. Firstly, determine realistic goals for each aspect of the migration. For example, if you are moving a site from HTTP to HTTPS, your objective would simply be to retain existing performance and traffic levels; whereas, if you are making changes to the site navigation to improve user experience, you should aim to increase existing levels of performance.

Risks: Identify the risks associated with different aspects of the site migration and put safeguards in place to counteract any negative effects.

Research: Find out what the changes will mean, both positively and negatively, to as many stakeholders as you can. Try to work out your ROI for each migration activity, prioritise them, and manage expectations to increase understanding of and engagement with the changes. Identify priority pages where changes will have the greatest impact.

Planning

Assign tasks: Especially important for more complex migrations – assign a task owner, dependencies and delivery date for each activity and its phases. A project manager may oversee all the associated activity to ensure the whole migration remains on schedule.

Launch date: It can be useful to have a definite end-date in mind for the site migration. While a certain degree of flexibility is required, an idea of launch date can help keep activity focussed and on track. The launch date, like all other details of the migration, should be carefully considered to maximise results and minimise any issues; for example, avoid large-scale changes to a website during or just prior to peak business times or limited-resource periods.

Consultation/Collaboration

You may be the experts at what you do, but conveying that to customers successfully via your website can require skills and experience that you might not have. And that is where collaboration with experts can assist you in making the right changes in the most effective way for your business. ExtraMile has SEO, Design and Development professionals who will work closely with you to gain an understanding of your business and goals, identifying the consequences and benefits of each change before any decisions are made.

By extending the collaborative approach to internal work, any specifications identified in the planning of a project can be detailed, communicated and factored into the process and tasks to be accomplished. For example, the SEO requirements of a project having been determined, should be translated into clear actions for developers to complete – this results in a consistently holistic approach which pays appropriate attention to every area of your business, whilst not losing the forest for the trees.

Testing

Testing is vital both during and after site migration. Proposed changes can be mocked-up and tested to identify any issues early on. User journeys and content updates may be tested earlier in the process, while other changes can only be tested once the migration is complete. It is important to remember that specific mobile testing should also be carried out.

Redirects

Redirects are one of the most crucial factors in site migration – implementing them will assist both search engines and users in finding pages that have moved. They also help search engines make the connection between the old and the new, allowing ranking signals to be exchanged and retained. Testing of redirects should be done before an updated site goes live.

Downtime

Downtime, while the new site is replacing the old one, should be kept to a minimum. But a server response to advise users and search engines that the site is temporarily down will also avoid negative effects on visibility.

Analysis

Benchmarking: Gathering data on the existing site will give you something to compare back to once changes have been implemented, and identify what went well during the migration and what could be improved upon in the future.

Testing and review: Once a site has gone live, both repeat and additional testing should be carried out to check that your updates have been implemented correctly and are performing as hoped. Testing for and correcting any issues should be done as soon as possible. However, determining whether the whole process has been a success can take longer, maybe even months for larger websites.

How ExtraMile can help with your site migration

Our close working relationships and wealth of experience make ExtraMile the ideal partner for your site migration, whether it involves design, content writing, user experience improvements, search engine optimisation, development or all of the above. We will work diligently to ensure your website migration is a success from the moment it begins. If you would like more information about the services we provide, please get in touch with us or contact a member of our team.

How do you find the best SEO agency?

SEO agencies and digital marketing

It goes without saying that enlisting genuine expertise is a foolproof method for improvement in any given field. In terms of digital marketing, SEO agencies are able to provide a wealth of information, guidance, and expertise in what can sometimes be quite a complex field to navigate – helping you to get things moving in the right direction, and keep them on that trajectory for years to come.

  So, with your business’s digital marketing efforts in mind, you may well have found yourself pondering the question: ‘How do I find the best SEO agency?’ 

The best is relative

  ‘The best’ is a relative term. What’s best for you beyond any shadow of doubt might only be mediocre for someone else. Difference in circumstance dictates difference in preference, choice, and action. 

  As such, a more focused and beneficial question to ask yourself might be: which SEO agency is best for me and my business

  To answer this question, you’re going to need to ask yourself a few more questions.

Q&A

  Chances are, you already have an in-depth idea of what it is that you’re likely to need from your SEO agency. However, to understand which SEO agency will be the best for you, it’s important that you have a precise understanding of what it is that you are looking for. 

  Taking some time to clarify your thinking will undoubtedly assist you in your endeavour to find the best SEO agency – meaning, the agency that is the perfect fit for your business. This clarification can be achieved by considering your answers to the questions below.

  (Consider involving multiple stakeholders from your business so that you come away with a holistic representation of where you are now, and where you want to get to.)

Think about the following:

  1. What are the objectives that you want your digital marketing function to achieve?
  2. How would you divide these objectives up over the short, medium, and long term?
  3. What is your top priority?
  4. How will you measure success?
  5. What’s your budget?
  6. What type of relationship are you looking to enter into with your SEO agency? E.g. consultancy-based or fully-managed?

  Answers to these questions will help to define:

The best SEO agency

  Any SEO agency that fails to appreciate the uniqueness of each of their customers will be doomed to fail their clients and, ultimately, themselves – given enough time.

  The best SEO agency for you will be the one that merges a holistic understanding of your business’s circumstances and ambitions with their knowledge, expertise, and techniques in order to get you to where you want to be.

The ExtraMile way

  At ExtraMile, we understand the irrefutable fact that without our customers, we are nothing. We would simply have no reason to exist if we did not have clients to serve.

  That’s why our customers are truly at the heart of everything we do.

  We do things slightly differently at ExtraMile. Compared to some marketing agencies who might give off all the right signals and say all the right things without actually getting to know their clients, our SEO projects are designed from the ground up to always place you, our customer, at the center of our universe.

  From the very beginning, we seek to understand you fully, so that we can identify how best to integrate our extensive experience and expertise with your business’s unique objectives and circumstances.

  This understanding informs how we work alongside you to design your SEO project, and how our relationship delivers on your digital marketing ambitions. 

Get in touch

To discover how we can help you and your business move forward, get in touch with us today.

What are the benefits of conversion rate optimisation?

What is conversion rate optimisation?

The basics

Let’s start at the beginning. Conversion is defined as the process of changing something from one thing to another. In the case of your website, your goal is to change/convert visitors into customers by taking a desired action. This action, conversion, or site goal will depend on the purpose of your website, and can be either a micro-conversion (e.g. signing up to a newsletter) or a macro-conversion and the primary goal (e.g. buying a product).

Conversion rate, expressed as a percentage, is the number of these successful conversions compared to the total number of visitors/visits to your website.

Conversion rate is a useful metric in marketing. A simple percentage shows you where you are, how you compare to other businesses in your industry, and what improvements you have made with changes to your websites or sales and marketing strategy.

Conversion rate optimisation, therefore, is the practice of increasing the conversion rate, by incentivising and encouraging more visitors to complete the desired action on your website.

Calculating conversion rate

Conversion rate optimisation can only begin after visits have been made to your site.

Depending on the number of conversion possibilities on your website, you can calculate the conversion rate by using either the number of visits or sessions (where multiple types of conversions are possible) or by the number of unique users (where there is only one possible conversion on the site):

Number of conversions Number of visits (or Number of unique users) 100 = % Conversion rate

For example, for an e-commerce site, if you have 3 visits to your site and 2 of those result in the purchase of a product, then:

2 3 100 = 66% Conversion rate

Gathering and using the data

Once you have your conversion rate figure, you can begin optimisation. Initially, it is important to consider what you are optimising (e.g. design, content or functionality), who you are optimising for, and what targets you are hoping to achieve. Analysing both quantitative and qualitative data will give you answers about your users, how they engage with your website and what you can do to improve your conversion rates.

Quantitative data can be gathered from sources such as Google Analytics and conversion rate tracking, and give information on:

Qualitative data can be used to support the facts and figures above, using customer surveys and user experience testing to find out why the behaviours above happen.

Combining all of this data will help you decide where to spend the most time and effort making adjustments to your site –  as in the pages with the most website traffic or those that most frequently cause users to abandon their search.

Why is CRO important?

Your website, like all other aspects of your business, has a purpose. Whatever that purpose is, your website takes time, money and effort, and you need to ensure that it is performing well and earning its place in your marketing strategy.

Conversion rate optimisation offers a number of benefits to your business:

  1. Increased ROI – as mentioned above, your website costs money, so a better conversion rate means a better return on that investment
  2. Improved user experience – by learning more about how your target audience engages with your website and improving that engagement, you also improve the overall user experience, helping to build trust and brand loyalty
  3. Improved ranking on SERPs – by reducing the number of times people abandon a visit to your website, you demonstrate to search engines that you have what users are looking for, helping to bump your site up in the rankings
  4. Beat the competition – you want to be the best, obviously, but being the best is a lot about being better than your competition, and making improvements to your website will make you stand out from the crowd

How ExtraMile Communications can help

At ExtraMile, our SEM Specialists have all the experience, knowledge and tools to carry out effective conversion rate optimisation. We will collect the data and collaborate closely with you to understand your business goals and objectives in order to optimise for the best results for you.

Please get in touch if you would like to find out more, or visit our website to learn more about CRO or some of the other SEM services we offer:

Change your aim: marketing and COVID-19

COVID-19 has fundamentally changed the way we live our lives. How has this affected marketing, and what can you do to mitigate losses?

When coronavirus, or COVID-19, first appeared at the start of the year it quickly became apparent that it would have a wide-reaching impact on all aspects of life. With lockdowns and social distancing fundamentally changing everything we do, we have had to adapt to new ways of thinking, living, and working.

With government advice urging people to work from home unless absolutely necessary and restricting people to their homes except for essential travel, it has become more difficult than ever to reach potential customers. As is usually the way, marketing departments in business across the country are taking a hit. If you can’t reach customers, what’s the point of marketing?

Time to change your aim

Here’s the thing: COVID-19 does not mean customers are unreachable. People still need and want to buy things, or carry out work as normal to keep their businesses afloat. To reach them, however, you need to rethink your marketing strategy.

Physical and traditional marketing channels have temporarily disappeared. Any exhibitions or networking events you might have had planned have gone out the window. Lists of prospects to call are useless without people in the office to answer. Industry print media, for the most part, has paused. It remains to be seen how well these channels recover post-COVID.

As a result, it is more important than ever to focus on digital and social media marketing. With people stuck at home, people are spending even more time online. Social media apps are reporting increased engagement across the board. There has never been a better time to invest in your online strategy to reach the right people.

covid-19 business closed

Plan for post-pandemic

Many online retailers saw a rapid increase in e-commerce sales during March with more people than ever stuck at home with little to do.

This might not be useful to businesses who do not work on an e-commerce basis, who have seen a drop in new projects or enquiries. However, just because customers are not searching for what they need now, does not mean they won’t be when the uncertainty of coronavirus comes to an end.

When business reopen, many clients will need to restock and form new partnerships which might have been affected by the crisis. It is vital your business is ready to intercept this surge in traffic.

Search Engine Optimisation is a long game. Invest time and effort into ranking for valuable search terms now and ensure your website is technically sound. This will put you in the best position possible for a post-coronavirus upswing in searches.

Alter your Pay-Per-Click strategy

It’s important to address messaging across current pay-per-click campaigns such as Google Ads. For example, are you able to tie into trends such as togetherness, working from home, communications and essential services? If so, what value can you provide in line with these themes, and, in turn, how can you take a softer sales approach?

It is also important to review ad copy and creative. You’ll need to change “visit us in store!” and similar phrases, and any imagery of people in large groups or in-store on landing pages. 

If you can deliver any services virtually that’s worth including in your campaign too. More than ever people are looking for added value at the click of a button. 

Spend on social

As mentioned above, people are spending more time than ever before on social media. Although it’s important to remain conscious of the content we publish at this time, social media is the most vital vehicle to deliver important messages about your business, offering and industry. If you are still open and providing services, products, or solutions, let people know.

You might also consider expanding your communications beyond organic social media. With an increase in social traffic, so too has the noise from thousands of brands, all looking to reach the same customers as you. A paid campaign will allow you laser-focus in who you want to reach and cut through the noise. 

With a little bit of investment and the right content, you could be reaching more potential customers than ever before. Learn from big brands – they are set to increase spend across social platforms to replace lost income from traditional marketing campaigns.

How can we help? 

ExtraMile Communications can work with you to improve and expand your digital marketing and online presence during this difficult time. Although it is difficult to look ahead, it is vital you are doing all you can to stay relevant to your customers and prepare for the future.

We offer a range of digital marketing services including organic search engine optimisation, pay-per-click advertising management, social media marketing both paid and organic, and email marketing. We can work with you to ensure your business is reaching customers and prepared for the future.

It remains to be seen what kind of long-term impact COVID-19 will have on marketing and the habits of customers and clients. For now, focusing on your digital communications rather than cutting your marketing entirely may be the best way to position yourself for what comes next and mitigate losses. For more information on how we can help, or to discuss your project, get in touch.

Six digital marketing trends for 2020

The world of digital marketing moves at the speed of light. What are the most important trends to be looking out for in 2020?

The world of digital marketing moves at somewhere approaching the speed of light. Take your eye off the ball for a second and there’s a host of new trends and strategies to be considering.

For small to medium business owners with a million things to keep track of, getting au fait with the non-stop flow of digital marketing trends can be a daunting task. At ExtraMile, it’s our passion – and our job – to keep our fingers on the pulse of this fast-paced digital world.

In this blog, we take a look at six digital marketing trends that are set to become a big deal in 2020, and talk about what you can do to prepare for them.

1: Artificial intelligence

It might sound like sci-fi, but artificial intelligence is real and it’s set to revolutionise the way people behave and interact online. You might already be using AI to browse the internet by asking Alexa or Siri questions such as ‘how much does the moon weigh’ or ‘what is the best recipe for apple pie’.

Voice assistants

Voice assistants are fast becoming one of the main ways people seek out information online. This conversational style of searching means those looking to rank need to up their keyword research game. Ensuring your site answers the most common questions by creating content which will rank for these long-tail keywords is vital.

Voice assistants for SEO

As Amazon, Apple, Microsoft and the rest of Silicon Valley’s giants battle it out to get their assistant to the top, voice search via AI will continue to become more and more important for marketers.

You can learn more about optimising your website for voice search here.

AI Content

You might be interacting with AIs and AI generated content without even realising it. Artificial intelligence has been used to produce web content for a few years now, but as these machines get smarter, the content they produce is becoming more and more indistinguishable from human-written copy.

AI can quickly produce short news articles from a few basic points using algorithms that detect the most important aspects of the story. The balance between information, delivery and quality of the content is a fine one, but it’s one that AI is getting better and better at traversing.

AI chatbots in digital marketing

2. ChatBots

Speaking of AI: you will have seen chat bubbles popping up in the corner of websites more often as businesses strive to reach customers any way they can. You might even have interacted with a few. What you might not know is that you could have been talking to a robot the whole time.

While companies want to provide an informative and helpful experience on their site they also want to save money and time. AI chatbots have come a long way in terms of interactivity and some are now so advanced they can assist with a number of online enquiries without ever being rumbled. By reaching and converting visitors to your site quickly and effectively, these intelligent chatbots are set to become a big part of the digital marketing landscape next year.

3. Personalisation and hyper-targeted advertising

Digital advertising is now more accessible than ever before thanks to social media advertising. Most of us now receive ads mixed in with our news feeds with products and services we might be interested in.

But how often do you see an ad that is completely unrelated to you and your interests? It’s frustrating, right? When these poorly targeted or irrelevant ads show up in a consumer’s timeline they will be ignored, or worse, negatively impact that person’s opinion of your brand. According to GlobalWebIndex 49% of consumers will disregard a brand due to an irrelevant or poorly targeted ad.

In contrast, 36% of people would engage with a brand with tailored messaging. Ensuring a consistent flow of messaging tailored to the person you are attempting to reach is vital, and statistics show that in 2020 companies will need to up their targeting game and produce the content to match.

How to do video marketing

4. Video Marketing

Companies have been doing video marketing for years now – but it’s changing. Many predict that by next year, the majority of consumer internet traffic will be video-based. What’s more, it will be uploaded by individuals rather than brands.

A lot of businesses think that without big budgets or Hollywood production value video, marketing is pointless. This couldn’t be further from the truth. People are looking for entertaining, useful and informative videos – and you don’t need special effects and a £10,000 camera for that.

Humanised videos with a focus on how products and services are provided by and for people, are hugely effective and increasingly popular. Some examples of this type of video are employee or brand stories, company culture videos, FAQs and customer testimonials.

This is a fantastic example of video marketing. It is short, low-budget and to the point, but perfectly encapsulates the product and personality of the business. With so much content on the internet it is more important than ever to get your point across quickly and succinctly, and there are few better ways of doing that than video marketing.

5. Customer Experience

It’s now easier than ever before to reach customers. It’s also more difficult than ever to keep them. Consumers now have a plethora of options to choose from and if they decide one company isn’t worth their time, no amount of remarketing is likely to change their mind.

That is why customer experience (CX) is the name of the game for 2020. You want to make the process from start to finish as simple, informative and useful as possible to retain customers and keep them coming back for more.

According to PriceWaterhouseCoopers, 73% of people say CX is an important factor in their decision to buy. Brands need to be on the right side of this by ensuring their CX is as great as it can be.

Customer experience

The most important factors behind a good customer experience on your website are:

Remember: it’s a buyers market, so you need to make sure your marketing strategy takes into account customer experience at every turn.

6. SEO and Position Zero

It might seem strange to call SEO a trend since it’s so firmly entrenched in the digital marketing strategies of every company. The fact is, SEO is constantly evolving and changing, forcing brands to keep up. And 2020 will be no different.

Being number one on Google is no longer enough. Don’t get us wrong, it should still be an important goal, but with recent major shifts in SEO, the way people get their information from SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages) is changing.

Google now wants to get people the right answer as fast as possible – sometimes without even having them click a link. To do that, they have introduced ‘on SERP’ results such as featured snippets, where the most useful result is positioned in a stand-out location.

What is a featured snippet

What is Position Zero?

These snippets can appear all over the SERPs, but the most coveted position is before the organic listings, which has now been dubbed ‘position zero’. Google will use its algorithm to detect the most useful, informative result and put the answer to the query right there on the results page.

There’s no real science to getting your page front and centre with a featured snippet. Google will generally select an answer from the front page of the results, but it isn’t always the top spot. All you can do is ensure your site is providing a comprehensive, informative response to the most likely questions and search terms through in-depth keyword research.

This can be a time consuming and, let’s face it, confusing endeavour at times. Recruiting the help of an experienced and knowledgeable SEO agency can vastly improve your chances of ranking high and in these vital positions.

2020 vision

It’s a new decade and an exciting if unpredictable time for digital marketing. Ensuring you are ahead of the curve means you are preparing your business for the challenges and changes we’re sure to encounter.

For more advice on digital and search engine marketing, visit our services page, or get in touch using our contact form.