The end of Internet Explorer

 

At the time of writing this blog post there are only 230 days left until all support for Internet Explorer 8 is officially dropped by Microsoft (and in turn, most web developers). This may not seem significant for the vast majority of internet users, but if you read our recent blog on keeping up with technology, you may have guessed that for us here at Bigwave this is huge (we might even have a little party to celebrate).

The biggest difficulty with website builds is backwards compatibility with old browsers, and the sole cause behind struggles is IE8. Anyone who wants a website build is likely to want the latest technology. This may include animations, canvas, parallax, embedded videos and a responsive design; all of which IE8 struggles with.

It’s not Internet Explorer’s fault though, IE8 is already over six years old – which in internet terms is now considered ancient – just think of how much technology and the internet has changed over the past couple of years, let alone six! As a way of comparing IE8 to other browsers against performance in terms of rendering elements in HTML5, here is a list of scores for a test which checks compatibility on the most commonly used desktop browsers:

 

 

 

 

(source: https://html5test.com)

Even web browsers for games consoles like the Xbox blow IE8 clear out of the water. At present, the Internet Explorer brand has such a poor reputation that Microsoft has dropped the name entirely for its next browser, which will be named “Microsoft Edge”.

The majority of Internet Explorer users tend to be government organisations or large corporations that have strict controls over access to the internet and so the removal of IE8 support by Microsoft will signal upgrade requirements for these types of organisations.

If you’re using IE8 to read this post, now’s the time to move away from the browser and towards a better, brighter, more compatible and enjoyable internet.

For an informal chat about how to keep your website up to date and improve your online presence, please get in touch or tweet us @bigwavemedia.

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3 Reasons to use Landing Pages

We’ve all experienced landing pages whilst browsing the web – the smart web pages that appear when you click on a search engine optimised link or an online advert that catches your eye. Whether intended to capture visitor data, or to act as an attractive ‘front door’ before directing users further, they are used frequently by thousands of sites – from eCommerce to B2B. Here are 3 reasons why you should give them a go:

1. Lead generation jackpot

Landing pages are not typically accessible by just stumbling across them. If a user reaches a landing page, they usually would have clicked an advert, followed a QR code or typed in a specific URL to get there. At this point, they are already interested in what you are offering so this gives you an opportunity to promote the salient points, highlight the benefits and provide a strong call to action all in one handy place.

A landing page with a data capture form acts as a collection facility where the user can fill out their name and contact details in order to continue or get more info. Capturing this valuable data and using it for targeted promotions in the future is what makes landing pages indispensable.

Of course, increasing conversion rates is the ultimate aim. Thanks to this data fishing net, online advertising that uses landing pages typically sees a conversion rate increase of at least 25% (Omniture).

2. Paid search benefits

Each time a keyword from your advert matches up with a user’s search term, your Quality Score will improve. A unique landing page that is consistent with your advert will strengthen the overall relevance of the advert to the user’s search. This allows you to tailor both your advert and landing page, specifically to increase your Quality Score.

For example, the user searches for “Leisure centre Exeter”. Your advert’s keywords include all three of these keywords, as does your landing page. The user finds the advert extremely relevant and this in turn bumps up your Quality Score.

Why is a high Quality Score so important? Ads with a higher Quality Score are positioned higher in search ad rankings and Cost Per Click (CPC) may even decrease as a result – an all-round win for your campaign.

3. First impressions count

Landing pages are an added extra, allowing you to house a one-off campaign as a new web page without changing any existing content. Creating a good first impression is extremely important in the world of online sales, with the average attention span reportedly now lasting just 8 seconds – so the ability to make your campaign the centre of attention can be vital to its success.

Lets explain: If your ad were to link straight to the existing homepage of your website, users would be forced to sift through content that bears no relevance to what the ad is offering. This is the online equivalent of showing your customers the door when they’ve just picked up a basket. By implementing a landing page which is consistent in design and content with the original ad and offers a clear, concise call to action, you are more likely to retain the user’s interest and convert this engagement into a sale, or at the very least, capture their contact details to follow up.

Still not convinced? Take a look at some of the following landing pages we’ve designed for clients:

GL1 Leisure Centre

We designed this landing page for GL1 as part of their Kickstart PPC campaign. Traffic generated as a result of clicking paid ads would reach this web page where users could complete the contact form to book a tour.

LC Swansea

Similar to GL1′s Kickstart landing page, LC Swansea created a PPC campaign offering a free fitness class in return for customer details. Both GL1 and LC Swansea also used social media to promote their respective campaigns which linked to the landing pages.

Active Erewash

This landing page for Active Erewash also included a data collection form. However, in this case the incentive was the free download of a PDF information pack. The offer was promoted solely via a PPC ad, without the involvement of social media.

Active Northumberland

Differing in function from the previous three, this landing page was designed to act as a navigation portal to include the new Libraries and Tourism links, leading to sites which Active Northumberland has recently taken over. It enabled the bringing together of 4 separate web pages, to signpost users quickly to content relevant to them.

Here at Bigwave media, our services include the full creation of bespoke digital campaigns. For more information, please get in touch.

Posted in Advertising, Bigwave media, Campaign, Creative Design, Devon, Digital, Digital Marketing, Google, Graphic Design, Search Engine Optimisation, Uncategorized, Website | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off

PR Key Calendar Dates May – July 2015

In order for campaigns to remain current, it can often be useful to base your ideas around significant events taking place throughout the year. We advise clients to start preparing for campaigns at least 1 month in advance – so we’ve put together a list of important dates to add to the diary for 2015, to help you stay organised and to ensure that you don’t miss out on any opportunities.

Please note: this list is not definitive and will be updated as and when new dates are confirmed.

 

May

  • 1st May Day
  • 1st-31st National Walking Month
  • 4th Early May Bank Holiday
  • 4th-10th Screen-free Week
  • 5th World Asthma Day
  • 11th-17th Mental Health Awareness Week
  • 18th-22nd Walk to School Week
  • 25th Spring Bank Holiday
  • (dates vary)  Summer Half Term

Sporting Events

  • 2nd European Rugby Champions Cup Final
  • 4th May - 7th June Tennis French Open
  • 14th UEFA Women’s Champions League Final
  • 30th Football FA Cup Final

 

June

  • 13th-21st National Bike Week
  • 15th-19th Learning Disability Week
  • 15th-21st National Men’s Health Week
  • 21st Summer Solstice (Midsummer’s Day)
  • 21st Father’s Day

Sporting Events

  • 6th UEFA Champions League Final
  • 6th June - 5th July Women’s Football World Cup
  • 12th-28th European Games
  • 18th-21st Golf US Open
  • 29th June - 12th July Wimbledon

 

July

  • (dates vary) School Summer Holidays
  • 30th International Day of Friendship

Sporting Events

  • 4th-26th Tour de France Cycling
  • 5th British Grand Prix
  • 8th July - 24th August 2015 Ashes series
  • 9th-12th U.S. Women’s Open
  • 16th-19th Golf British Open
  • 17th July - 2nd August World Swimming Championships

 

Bigwave media is a creative marketing agency working with clients across the UK. To discuss campaign ideas that we can help you develop, please contact us on 0845 643 2385 or complete our contact form.

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My Placement Year at Bigwave media

My name is Rosie and I have spent my university placement year at Bigwave media, as a Junior Digital Account Manager.

Currently in the third year of my Marketing degree at Plymouth University, I approached Bigwave back in October in the hope that I might be able to carry out my placement year with them. As my first experience of working at a marketing agency, 7 months on I can honestly say I’ve learnt a huge amount and it really has been a great way to spend my placement year.

Working predominantly alongside Digital Account Executive Laura, my day-to-day tasks include monitoring and responding to clients’ social media activity, producing and scheduling social media content using Hootsuite and writing and publishing blog articles for Bigwave’s blog site using WordPress. As well as marketing and industry news-themed blog posts for Bigwave, I have also written a number of health and fitness-based blog posts for clients. Other content I have produced has been in the form of monthly fitness memes (quotes and images) and infographics – which involved carrying out research and writing design briefs for them. Over the course of my placement, I have learnt how to input these jobs into the agency’s design workflow system to schedule for design. Each month, Laura and I produce in-depth social media reports for a number of clients which has provided me with a great insight into the long-term impact of our work.

I have been fortunate enough to get involved in a variety of other jobs and projects since working at Bigwave. Working with the web development team, I have enjoyed copywriting, sitemapping and inputting content for various websites, often using Joomla. Digital Director, Simon, also gave me the fantastic opportunity to work on an article around Marketing Trends for ukactive. More recently, I have helped re-launch Bigwave’s monthly newsletter – The Board, which I have contributed to and managed the distribution to our mailing list each month.

I’ve found Bigwave media to be a brilliant place to work, with an extremely friendly team and a great ethos. Aside from the invaluable marketing experience I feel I’ve gained since being here, I’ve also loved getting involved in team events and office perks. Some of my favourites have included fundraising for – and participating in – the brutal but exhilarating 10K RockSolidRace team challenge, bacon Fridays, taking part in the annual Bigwave Easter Egg Hunt, attending the launch event of Exeter Business Games 2015 and going on numerous team nights out!

I came to Bigwave with the aim of learning more about marketing in the leisure industry, developing my digital and copy writing skills and fueling my interest in health and fitness. Looking back at everything I’ve learnt and achieved over the past 7 months, the whole experience has gone above and beyond my expectations and I feel well equipped for when the time comes to head back to uni and hit the books for my final year.

Thanks a lot for an awesome placement year, Bigwave!

Posted in Bigwave media, Devon, Digital Marketing, Internship, Leisure industry, Social Media, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off

Creating the perfect image – using stock photos

Stock photography is arguably one of the greatest design weapons around. The sheer number of files available at the click of a mouse has revolutionised the way organisations are able to represent themselves. With image quality – for the most part – high and prices low, it is no wonder that providers such as iStock have millions of users worldwide (us included).

But let’s look at the flip side for a second. ‘Unoriginal’, ‘clichéd’ and ‘dated’ are all words that have been used to describe stock images by critics of iStock, Shutterstock and other providers. If used lazily, yes – designs using poorly selected, mismatched stock photos are at risk of living up to these negative labels. One look at Vince Vaughn and his co-stars posing in iStock parodies as a tongue-in-cheek PR stunt instantly sums up the current “cheesy” reputation some stock photos have garnered in recent years.

Selection, selection, selection

Getting the best out of stock imagery really is all in the selection – it’s that simple. Find a stock image that works with your campaign and you’re off to a flying start. However, with some campaigns demanding very specific images in order to perfectly complement the overall message, it is inevitable that stock galleries can’t always fulfil requirements.

The perfect image

So what happens when you can’t find the perfect image? You don’t have to settle for something that is just okay. Here at Bigwave media, our designers are able to take a number of high quality stock images and manipulate them to form a single, custom-designed image that is perfectly suited to your campaign and brand. The images below were used in a recent ecampaign to promote Exeter Business Games. In this case, the purpose was to show both metaphorical sides of the individual taking part – their business side and a more sporty, competitive side in relation to the games. Such images were too obscure to find in a stock gallery, so these were custom-created instead.

The result? A unique image that captures exactly what the campaign intends to communicate.

Bigwave media is a creative marketing agency working with clients across the UK to develop bespoke campaigns. To discuss ideas that we can help you progress, please get in touch.

Posted in Bigwave media, Campaign, Creative Design, Design, Graphic Design, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off

Google’s ‘mobilegeddon’ – are you ready?

As of this week, Google is prioritising mobile-friendly web pages in ranking positions of all searches performed on mobile devices. This means that many web pages which are currently highly ranked by Google (coming top in search results) could plummet if they are not mobile-responsive.

According to Google, websites that are ‘not mobile-friendly’ feature:

  • Text too small to read
  • Mobile viewport not set
  • Links too close together

Our advice?

Update! Google’s changes are as a result of growing mobile browsing trends, which according to StatCounter, continue to soar in popularity whilst PC usage is decreasing.

To ensure these changes don’t affect your website’s mobile SERP ranking, use Google’s Mobile-friendly Test to find out whether your web pages are likely to be affected.

Concerned? Chat to us. Here at Bigwave media, our bespoke web packages include fully responsive websites, compatible with all devices. For an informal discussion about your website needs, please get in touch.

Posted in Digital, Google, Mobile Marketing, Mobile Technology, News, Search Engine Optimisation, Web Development, Website | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off

The ‘This Girl Can’ Effect

The This Girl Can campaign was first launched in January and has since made waves across the nation, gaining support from a host of social influencers and garnering more than 7.7million views on its YouTube channel to date. As the organisation behind the campaign, Sport England, announces plans for the next stage of above the line advertising to further promote This Girl Can this summer, we explore what has made the campaign that aims to get more women into exercise so successful.

Far from taking the tried-and-tested “new year, new me” approach to January resolution marketing, many have praised Sport England’s decision to keep the campaign as realistic and relatable as possible, encouraging women to embrace exercise in all forms. Using insights which found that 75% of women say they would like to exercise more, but refrain from doing so due to a fear of judgement, Sport England opted to use non-airbrushed women to represent the general UK population of 14-40 year olds as opposed to the models and fitness professionals we are so used to seeing in high profile campaigns. This had a dramatic impact on the British public. According to the campaign’s creators, less than 1% of Twitter activity surrounding the campaign has been negative.

Leisure centres and sporting bodies across the UK are among those who have taken on board This Girl Can’s powerful message and acted, spreading the word further. Click on the icons below to see how some of our leisure clients including Soll Leisure, Impulse Leisure and Abbeycroft Leisure have taken inspiration from This Girl Can:

So what can we learn from This Girl Can?

“Real” sells. Sports marketing is evolving – we no longer want to see the “ideal” being thrust upon us with an air of superiority and glamour. This shift in approach has come across as radical and inspiring, making This Girl Can stand out from the usual sports campaigns that – for the most part – are pushing attainable goals and often having the opposite effect to what is intended.

As for the future of sports and fitness-related campaigns, we expect to see others taking note of This Girl Can’s rapid rise to success and following suit.

Here at Bigwave media, we offer bespoke creative and PR services, from graphic design to campaign planning and media management. To discuss our services in more detail, please get in touch.

Posted in Advertising, Bigwave media, Fitness, Leisure industry, News, PR, Social Media, Sports, Uncategorized | Comments Off

PR Key Calendar Dates April – June 2015

In order for campaigns to remain current, it can often be useful to base your ideas around significant events taking place throughout the year. We advise clients to start preparing for campaigns at least 1 month in advance – so we’ve put together a list of important dates to add to the diary for 2015, to help you stay organised and to ensure that you don’t miss out on any opportunities.

Please note: this list is not definitive and will be updated as and when new dates are confirmed.

 

April

  • 1st April Fool’s Day
  • 3rd Good Friday / Bank Holiday
  • 5th Easter Sunday
  • 6th Easter Monday / Bank Holiday
  • 23rd St. George’s Day
  • 29th International Dance Day

Sporting Events

  • 6th–12th Golf Masters
  • 11th Grand National
  • 18th–22nd Cycling World Track Championships
  • 26th London Marathon

 

May

  • 1st-31st National Walking Month
  • 1st May Day
  • 4th Early May Bank Holiday
  • 4th-10th Screen-free Week
  • 5th World Asthma Day
  • 25th Spring Bank Holiday
  • (dates vary)  Summer Half Term

Sporting Events

  • 2nd European Rugby Champions Cup Final
  • 4th May - 7th June Tennis French Open
  • 14th UEFA Women’s Champions League Final
  • 30th Football FA Cup Final

 

June

  • 13th-21st National Bike Week
  • 15th-19th Learning Disability Week
  • 15th-21st National Men’s Health Week
  • 21st Father’s Day

Sporting Events

  • 6th UEFA Champions League Final
  • 6th June - 5th July Women’s Football World Cup
  • 12th-28th European Games
  • 18th-21st Golf US Open
  • 29th-12th July Wimbledon

 

Bigwave media is a creative marketing agency working with clients across the UK. To discuss campaign ideas that we can help you develop, please contact us on 0845 643 2385 or complete our contact form.

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We did it! Team Bigwave finish RockSolid 2015

Laura Rogers (Digital Account Executive), Rebecca Cooper (Account Manager), Simon Beer (Digital Director), Luke Stone (Account Manager), Kelly Pritchard (Senior Account Manager), Justin Peppin (Senior Designer), Dan Tofield (Studio Manager), Erika Smith (Designer), Rosie King (Junior Digital Account Manager), Adam White (Digital Project Manager), Luke Simpson (Head of Operations), Lee Potter (Creative Director), Liam Furzey (Designer), Tania Dos Santos Costa (Cleaner)

After weeks, days, (and in some cases hours) of training, Race Day was upon us. Kitted out in our matching #TeamBigwave T-shirts and secretly wishing we had done a few more squats and press ups in preparation, all 14 of us were ready to take on the mammoth 10k assault course (which we had just been informed was closer to 13k) with no less than 40 obstacles between us and the finish line.

After a quick warm-up led by a very enthusiastic Scotsman (complete with kilt), a few team photos and a pep talk from our very own Mr. Motivator, designer J.P, we were off!

We had all watched the videos and studied the maps but I don’t think any of us were truly prepared for the amount of mud that was ahead of us. Some of us handled it far better than others with myself being the first to fall victim to the chest high sludge, all of which was of course caught on camera.

Spirits were high amongst the Bigwave team throughout, with everyone working together to make it a true team effort. We crossed the line in just over 3 hours, exhausted and a bit bruised but all in one piece and overjoyed to have finished as a team.

So far we have raised a brilliant £542.50 for Force Cancer Charity so a massive thank you to everyone who has supported us. If anyone would still like to donate, please visit our fundraising page - and don’t forget to check out all the photos from the day!

Bring on next year’s race!

 

Posted in #TeamBigwave, Bigwave media, Charity, Devon, Fitness, Fundraising, Leisure, Leisure industry, News, PR | Tagged , , , , , | Comments Off

The importance of keeping up with browser technology (and how it’s actually really easy)

Occasionally you’ll find someone who uses Internet Explorer 8 (IE8) as their standard web browser. The most recent version, however, is IE11 – making IE8 now 6 years old. To put that into perspective, IE8 was pre-smartphones!

In an industry that moves as fast as web and IT technology, 6 years is a long time but some people are still using IE8 to do their important business and work. IE8 is in fact being decommissioned by Microsoft and support is being suspended as of January 2016. All too often people leave the web aspect of their businesses in the shadows – the equivalent of writing emails on a type writer and sending them in the post – yet this web software is easily available, for free!

So, why is this the case when most of us work in a modern office, have a smart phone in our pocket and a SatNav in the car? Often the answer is either that the IT team are unable to update every computer in the building or the end user simply doesn’t hit the upgrade button. As of January 2015, 85.3% of online browsers are using either Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox – both are excellent applications which we use here at Bigwave as primary browsers in our digital department.

Failing to keep up with technology is failing to fully utilise the best aspects of the web to reach the market. If your website is not kept up to date and fresh it can soon appear dated to potential customers. Our most recent Bigwave web designs incorporate the latest techniques; From side scrolling sites to parallax pages and even monthly subscription portals. We forward plan when we design and market sites, but sites don’t need to be and shouldn’t be complicated for users. Most Bigwave websites come with a straightforward Content Management System (CMS) for website managers, giving them the tools to update and refresh a site’s content.

From web design and build to social media content creation and email marketing, we can provide a wide range of digital marketing solutions that can put your business at the forefront of the online marketplace.

To find out more about how we can improve your online presence, get in touch or tweet us @bigwavemedia.

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