Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Golf Nominations for Edge Clients

The nominees for the Golf Tourism Scotland Gold Awards have just been announced ahead of the Annual Awards dinner to be held at Turnberry on the 5th of November.

We're delighted that five of our online clients have been nominated for an award including Gailes Hotel and The Inn at Lathones in the Large Hotel Category, The Old Loans Inn in Small Hotel category and McLaren Travel in the Transport Operator of the Year Category. In addition we are delighted to also provide Ogstons on North Street in St Andrews with the Bookassist online reservations engine for their website - Ogstons have been nominated in the small hotel category as well.

We wish them all the very best of luck in their respective categories.

The 5th of November is also the target date for The Edge in realtion to ensuring that the new Golf Tourism Scotland website explodes with proverbial fireworks onto the internet with the planned unveiling of the new design and content at the AGM before the dinner.

Energy Agency Prepare Online Survey

One of our clients, the Energy Agency,  has recently signed up to use ConstantContact to drive their online newsletters. The Edge have provided the training and support in getting the system up and running but also introduced the Ayrshire based team to the joys of online surveys and questionnaires. As a direct result the Energy Agency are using the survey tool within Constant Contact to monitor the effectiveness of their recent Sustainability Fair.

They have created the questionnaire which will be linked to in an email sent to all attendees of the fair asking for their opinions on a variety of issues relating to the show.

The questionnaire was easy to set up mixing open and closed, subjective and objective, ranking and multiple choice questions and will give the EnergyAgency live results as the responses are made online.

The results can then be downloaded in both spreadsheet and graph format for the client to present and further analyse.

If you need some help with your online marketing simply drop The Edge an email or call us on 02192 521404

Friday, October 9, 2009

Two Years On and We're still Singing Loch Lomond!

How time flies, eh? It's now been two years this weekend since The Edge hit front page headlines in the newspapers with our Loch Lomond Children in Need Campaign and we thought it was as good time a time as any to reflect on the experience.

Sometimes it's difficult to define your business. Design, marketing, web development, e-commerce, promotions, PR, product development?

Daily Record get The EdgeThey all have a place but sometimes it's projects and clients that explain things better than we ever can. And to some extent that's just what our "Sing Loch Lomond for Children in Need" campaign did a couple of years back.

The project, even for us, was a big bit of out of the box creative thinking, lots of project management, developing strong and mutually beneficial partnerships, having focussed objectives and targets, strong design, effective web presence, positive e-marketing, good strong copy writing. When they all come together - and they can come together - it describes our business and our thinking and ethos better than any number of words could.

So when you secure front page Daily Record, double page spread and editorial, BBC Scotland coverage, live broadcast from a Scotland international, 500% increase in web traffic, enquiries for website advertising opportunities and a major jump in e-commerce sales through the website and a UK Top Ten record for Runrig and The Tartan Army then perhaps we should be reminding our clients that this is indeed what we can do!

Pudsey and Loch LomondThe project from start to finish was great to be involved with. Simply pitching the idea to Runrig of recording a new version of Loch Lomond was the first hurdle and it was with some considerable fortune that Steve Cullen, Runrig's manager saw the potential just as much as we did. BBC Scotland were next and likewise the opportunities of a fantastic campaign tied in with the Tartan Army's final match against Italy hit the net in style!
So we now had the lead artists, the full support of BBC Scotland. All we needed to do was convince the SFA that we could mic up Hampden and record 52,000 Scottish football fans at half time! Easy? Well actually it was and Colin Banks pulled out all the stops to make that part no problem either. He even allowed us to record the squad singing the track at Cameron House on Loch Lomond.

The Edge even produced a karaoke version of the track for the big screens at Hampden to ensure the crowd sang in time!

After that it was a rush job to get the single remixed which Runrig looked after at their Danish studios while we designed the CD and promotioanal artwork for the campaign including a Loch Lomond downloads page.
The Daily Record loved the concept and for the whole period of the campaign supported the whole thing from start to finish. Front page features were followed by double page spreads and artist interviews and readers competitions making sure the entire nation knew what was going on.

The highlight for all involved however was an unforgettable Children in Need night at the BBC Studios in Glasgow. The Edge had been asked to get three hundred Tartan Army to the studios on the night for a live rendition with Runrig; not a problem given that it was the evening before Scotland's biggest Hampden occasion in years and if you were one of that group it will live long in the memory from the march along the Clyde from the Renfrew Ferry into the studios and the most amazing piece of live television which even now raises hairs on the back of the neck watching  it.

The ending however was as usual the same. Scotland failed to qualify against Italy and the Euro Dream was over; even an early morning phone call from the record company on the Sunday morning with the amazing news that the song had charted at number nine in the UK charts couldn't lift that cloud! It must be said however that listening to Fearne and Reggie introduce Runrig and The Tartan Army was pretty cool!
Anyway, it's always worth having a look at that video all over again - it's had more than half a million views on YouTube - and if you wish buy the track on iTunes!

It was an achievement and a half and showed what collaboration can achieve. Thanks for the memories again to Steve and Runrig, Colin and the SFA, Donald and Grigor at BBC Scotland, Alex McLeish and the Scotland Squad, The Daily Record, Nigel at Active Media and of course the wonderful Tartan Army! 

New Site For Ayrshire Golf Course

Kilmarnock (Barassie) Golf Club are now owners of a shiny new website designed by The Edge.
We've been looking after Barassie's online presence for a number of years and the new design and structure simply builds on the progress made over the years.

The site is powered by our tourism content management system, The Claymore Project, and allows club secretary/manager  Donald Wilson to update everything and anything he wishes to. He can upload minutes and files into the secure members' Section or publish visitor information and updates, change images in his gallery or even publish YouTube footage directly to the site.

New content includes a History and Heritage section which over the coming months will increasingly feature archive materials from the golf club's history - the first phase includes a PDF version of the 1937 Jubilee Book celebrating the golf club's first fifty years.

New image galleries, pro shop pages and a Short Breaks section are all aimed at increasing the visibility of the golf club to visitors as well as keeping members' informed.

The club has even taken a grip on the Social media media bandwagon and now has its own Facebook page where visitors can be come Fans of Barassie!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Sharpened Edge for East Kilbride Skaters!

East Kilbride based Olympia Skating Club are this week celebrating the launch of a brand new website. The club approached The Edge in September with a view to giving the club an on-line profile and as part of our ongoing support for youth sport and development we were delighted to help with a discounted proposal for the club's committee.

The result appears to be a positive outcome for the club who were delighted with their new on-line presence. The site is powered by The Edge's content management system The Claymore Project and allows the club's organisers the ability to update their own news, events, images and even picture galleries. They can also embed YouTube video footage as well.

The site completes a trilogy of sites The Edge have done in the past month for youth sports clubs in Scotland having redesigned the website for Young Killie and a new site for Kilmaurs Thistle youth football club.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Make Sure Your Landing Page is Working For You

We got an excellent feature through yesterday from a blog we subscribe to in The States about ten things to do with your landing page. As usual however (as we do with almost everything) we cut it back to three things to do. Three things always seem to be manageable for most businesses even the busiest!

Firstly Don’t Lose Them

How often have you heard that your homepage needs the WOW factor? Well first of all that’s pretty subjective and in all honesty the WOW factor that can be most felt with websites is “Wow that’s bad!”.

Click. Closed. Gone.

In the past it used to be about web developers selling their design first; flash images, creating a Wow Factor. We think that’s changed. On the basis that you only have a few seconds to keep the attention of the visitor there has to be an immediate comfort zone which the site visitor feels immediately; that doesn’t not need to be based on moving images or weird and wonderful navigation.

Content precedes design. Every time.

Brilliant design and Brilliant content will achieve this but so on most occasions will Good Design and Brilliant content. What’s the difference? Well normally several thousand pounds for no major increase in conversion rates.

As a small, medium or large operator all you can really do in the first five seconds is lose your potential customer. It’s a bit like playing golf at The Open Championship and you’ve heard it a million times in interviews; “All you can do in the first round is stay in contention. You can’t win the event after only eighteen holes but you can certainly lose it!”

The analogy is the same for websites. You can’t secure the sale in the first five seconds but you can sure as hell lose it. Bad design and bad content will do that every time.

So look at your landing page and don’t think what can I do to keep these people but more along the lines of what can I do to ensure they won’t switch me off? Resolve the issue of immediate losses from your site and you’ll then be able to take the nest step and fulfilling their search needs.

Understand Why They’re on Your Website

Is it in response to an advert, an email promotion, Pay per Click campaign, generic search? Whatever the reason for their visit you need to ensure that the reason can be taken to the next level quickly and easily.

If it’s in response to a sales promotion ensure your retail offering or availability checker for accommodation providers is prominent – converting to sales is the bottom line after all. Ensure it’s as easy to do as possible from your landing page.

Your sale is dependent on the content you have pushing that sale; equally your availability checker should ensure easy checking from the landing page. Don’t just say click here to book; an availability calendar will always gain more clicks.

Web 2.0 tools and social media are great but only if they are driving sales. They should also be used wherever possible to drive traffic TO your landing page not away from it. Unless you have a very good reason for driving potential sales towards your social media sites DON’T!

Remember it has to be Social Media with Purpose.

Make the call to action clear

Your sales tools must be on view on the screen or above the fold as it is known. The top left corner is the most viewed and receptive area on any webpage and your key sales tools should be positioned here including where possible your availability checker. Top right also ranks highly.

All your key messages however should be on the screen and not require scrolling. Non sales messages, no matter how cute should not be given the same level of prominence.

Special features and promotions should be well navigated. The use of a three column layout has helped many of our clients in the past with graphical calls to action for weddings or festive information sitting below the availability checker. The call to click on them being very clear. A good example of clear navigation is in the recently redesigned website for Gailes Hotel in Ayrshire.

Similar use of bold banners pronouncing Best Available Rate or Sign up for E-News, Facebook or Twitter can all generate action.

So there it is. Three things to do this month...

  1. Balance Design and Content
  2. Interpret why the visitor is on YOUR Site
  3. Make action easy
Read more at The Edge 2010