You may have read about it or even seen the bright orange, mobile training unit in your area but for those of you who haven’t, Digitise the Nation – A nationwide digital inclusion campaign is back and on the road!
The IIA have launched “Digitise the Nation” for 2012. The bright orange, mobile training unit has been taking to the road ensuring that all members of society have training and access to all the benefits that being online brings. This stand-out orange training unit will be visiting towns throughout Ireland over the coming twelve months and the IIA welcome everyone to get on board to get online.
A unique aspect of the Digitise the Nation Campaign is the number of sponsors involved and the breadth of industry collaboration. Microsoft, Independent.ie, Bonkers.ie and RaboDirect are coming together in a very hands-on way to support delivery of this training. No other digital inclusion initiative has enrolled such a range of supporters and the IIA is delighted to be the fulcrum for such a gathering.
The mobile nature of this Digitise the Nation training means that anyone from anywhere is invited to contact us via our www.digitisethenation.ie website to find training dates and locations as well as request training for their own locality.
Digitise the Nation has been designed to deliver the following;
- How to get started on email and internet calls to stay in touch with family and friends
- How to use the internet to find value and save money
- Using the internet to find jobs, news, information
- Building confidence and feeling included
Record number of entries for Dot ie Net Visionary Awards 2012 – Shortlist Announced and Public Voting Opens
Tuesday, 21st of August, 2012: The Irish Internet Association (“IIA”) announced the shortlist for this year’s Dot ie Net Visionary Awards and online voting is now open. It’s the start of award season and the fully refreshed IIA awards are the first off. With huge thanks to our headline sponsor in IE Domain Registry Limited (“IEDR”), new categories, a stunning venue at the National Gallery of Ireland and a record number of entries, up 30% on last year, these awards are the ones to watch.
The IIA have been setting the agenda all year – eCommerce strategy, BRIC export market opportunities, cloud standards, development for accessibility and much more. We’ve reflected these issues in the new categories; Best International “we’ll conquer the world” Irish Technology Business, The Bravest and Best “brick to click” Business, Most “joyous to look and splendid to use” Web Design, Most Indispensible Cloud Service for SMEs. These awards are more than just trophies, they are coveted titles.
Joan Mulvihill, CEO of the Irish Internet Association, is particularly pleased with industry reaction. “The sheer number of entrants was overwhelming. It’s a great sign of the positivity, determination and creativity of the sector. We are truly grateful to our panel of expert judges who have had the tough job of shortlisting the nominations to go forward for the public vote”.
She added: “Now that the shortlist is announced, the voting is open to the public, This year, for the first time, we are combining the public vote with the judges score to determine the ultimate category winners. This new departure will ensure that the winning entry is regarded by customers, peers and judges alike as the very best in class.”
The Dot ie Net Visionary Awards are so named in honour of IEDR as headline sponsor for the second year running. Commenting on their involvement, Angela Butler, IEDR Finance and Operations Manager says, “The IE Domain Registry is delighted to again be the headline sponsor for this year’s Dot ie Net Visionary Awards. The fact that the judges scores will be combined with public votes means that the Awards will provide a clear picture of best practice in the Irish Internet community, while also serving to highlight the most popular, useful and notable websites in Ireland. The IEDR are delighted to see an increase in entries and awards categories. We are always keen to promote and celebrate dot ie websites which can be used as quality benchmarks for Irish businesses and individuals to guide them in improving their own online offerings.”
The Dot ie Net Visionary Awards, now in their 14th year will be held on Friday, 28th September at the prestigious Wintergarden at the National Gallery of Ireland – perfectly befitting a celebration of the creativity and genius of the industry. Category sponsors for the awards include: RSM Farrell Grant Sparks, Fexco, Paypal, Telecity Group, Digital Hub Development Agency, Elucidate.
For further information and ticket details please visit http://www.iia.ie/net-visionary/
Posted by Joan Mulvihill, IIA CEO
Fresh from the standing-room only IIA Ecommerce Breakfast Briefing at Irish Times Training, I’m still reeling from the number of subscribers, the cool and insightful presentation stylings of Graham Merriman and Vinny O’Brien and the smart interrogations from the audience Q&A.
So where do I start? In 1995. I know that’s a while ago but it’s when I started my working life in Woolworths in London and when I discovered that my passion for retail extended to both sides of the counter! It’s a passion that’s stayed with me. Retail, etail, potAtoe, potatoe! I’m three years in the Irish Internet Association and its all still so much about digital marketing and not so much about online sales. Marketers, my apologies! The role of the digital marketing professional is critical but the stalwart 4Ps are as important now as ever. All very retro but as Graham Merriman of Carrickane Consulting asked the WWDDD question (What Would Don Draper Do?), I reckon I have earned some latitude.
Both of the speakers are retailers. Yes, actual retailers. They are people who sell stuff. People who pack stuff, put them in boxes and deliver them to customers. One of this morning’s messages was a clear shout out to lose the jargon, its retail not rocket science. Is it about SEO or is it simply about how to get the most from your website. Is it about UX or is it simply about the customer journey? Maybe that’s just semantics if you’re in the know but there’s a world difference if you are the provider of services to an offline retailer who’s trying to grow their online sales. Vinny O’Brien from Arnotts was clear on this point. Keeping the lights on in your ecommerce business is half the battle as you sink costs at the start to achieve your long term strategy. You’ve got to keep the business leader with you.
So what about the customer? I love a good debate but it’s equally reassuring to see two speakers in synch. Graham recommends knowing them. You need to know them, know why they are coming into your store and equally know why they are coming onto your website. You need to know what they need, want and expect from you and you need to know how to manage their perception of that. Then it’s easy. Just find a way of giving it to them. Profitably. Vinny may have said this more than once but in case you missed it, here it is again. You can’t beat research and statistics! “Retail is detail” is the old adage and whether it’s online or offline, it still holds true.
So keeping it kitsch, let’s talk Eurovision! Graham made the point best with the Jedward case study. Everyone in Europe knew who they were. Big tick in the digital marketing ‘awareness’ box. But did they convert? Alas no. Our Eurovision hopes dashed for another year. Conversion is the name of the game. A great digital marketing campaign will acquire followers and fans but it needs to acquire sales by converting fans to customers. This is retail and retail is about competing for sales not competing for popularity.
And it seems that the key is to become popular AND sell your products. The guys were unanimous in citing pricing and service as the big drivers. When is a price promise not a price promise? When it excludes website pricing! 42% of people going into stores are using their smart phones to compare prices so be careful about making promises that you’re only ‘kind of’ keeping. And just when you’d gotten your head around your pricing strategy across online and offline, Graham dived right into the challenges and opportunities for cross-border selling. Online is the first real ‘common market’. It’s the first time we’ve experienced real price transparency and product fulfilment across borders – even if only 8.5% of European consumers are actually doing it.
Service is the big online -offline differentiator. In the offline world, the service element is more or less over when the customer has taken the product to the counter, paid for it and has gone home, happy. Online, the outbound customer journey becomes a much bigger part of the game. How quickly can you deliver? How cost effectively? How do you deal with returns? They’ve left your online store but they haven’t ‘gotten’ anything yet. The service journey is a long way from over and the onus of the experience is heavily on the retailer.
And speaking of service, the last word goes to Vinny, the aforementioned research and stats advocate, who is just as adamant about embracing customer feedback. “We’re in a constant process of refinement in an environment that’s changing constantly”. Two virtuous circles of iteration in perfect synchronicity? Feedback from customers should not be seen as not an opportunity to test the crisis management capability of your PR agency or the ‘diffusion-in-140- characters-or- less’ capability of your in-house tweeter. It is rather, an opportunity to refine your product and service offering to ensure repeat customer conversion – sales. Did I mention that it’s all about sales!
The presentations from Graham Merriman of Carrickane Consulting and Vinny O’Brien of www.Arnotts.ie are free for download from the IIA website www.iia.ie/resources and of course feel free to join the Irish Internet Association by going too www.iia.ie/join-now to benefit from the IIA member discount for our Diploma in eCommerce Management.
The IIA in partnership with Irish Times Training are delighted to launch a brand new Diploma course in e-Commerce Management.
This Course covers everything you need to know to run a successful ecommerce business. Click here for more information.
Module 1: Planning your e-Commerce Customer Proposition
Lecturer: Ronan O’Brien of Zatori – The Costume Shop
Module 2: Business Planning
Lecturer: Fionan Dunne of CFO Services
Module 3: Effective Website Design
Lecturer: Gareth Dunlop of Fathom
Module 4: Driving Customer Traffic – PPC, SEO, Affiliate Marketing and E-Mail Marketing, Deals Management
Lecturer: Ronan O’Brien of Zatori
Module 5: Transaction Management
Lecturer: Bob Curran of Buy4Now
Module 6: eCommerce Customer Services: CRM – Relationships and Returns
Lecturer: Bob Curran of Buy4Now
Module 7: eCommerce Customer Services: Deliveries and Deadlines
Lecturer: Rory O’Connor of Scurri.com
Module 8: International e-Commerce: Translations & Transactions
Lecturer: Mark Rodgers of Cipherion Translations
Module 9: Metrics / Analytics
Lecturer : David Murphy of Amplify
Module 10: Content – Images and Copy
Lecturer: Fiona Ashe of FlasheForward Communications
Module 11: Mobile Commerce
Lecturer: Sian Gray, Mobile Marketing specialist (Nokia)
FREE Module : Breakfast Briefing Managing Customer Information: Your Legal Obligations as an eCommerce Manager from Gary Davies, Assistant Data Protection Commissioner
If you’ve got customer information on file you will need to know in what form and for how long you can store it. You will also need to know for what you may use it. You will need to be fully aware of your obligations as a retailer vis a vis Trading Standards etc.. This module is painful but necessary!
Dublin City University Business School – free digital marketing mini-conference in the Gallery Theatre in the Helix.
Tomorrow DCU Business School with the DCU LINK Research Centre’s Techspectations Initiative is holding a free digital marketing mini-conference in the Gallery Theatre in the Helix. Techspectations Summer Hospitality & Tourism Digital Marketing Summit is supported by the Hospitality Sales & Marketing Association of Ireland.
The Summer Summit programme is designed to introduce Irish hospitality professionals to SEO tools and resources, Pay Per Click advertising, Social Media Marketing and more. To coincide with President Obama’s visit to Ireland and #irlday, their theme will focus on marketing Ireland, Irish food and hospitality however the content will have general applicability.
All the details can be found on the Techspectations website.
Enda Flynn, who organised it, tells me they are livestreaming MIX 11 this Wednesday and it sounds like it could be at least as interesting and twice as much fun! If you are developing and are device agnostic I would totally recommend that you pop along to hear about the cool things that are being done with Microsoft devices and interfaces. Okay I’ll shut up now because I’m beginning to not know what I’m talking about. Over to Enda:
Microsoft, Developers, UX, Web, Pizza, Beer, Surface, Slates, Prizes.
MIX is a gathering of developers, designers, UX experts and business professionals creating the most innovative and profitable consumer sites on the web. The conference takes place in Las Vegas, but will be streamed live online http://live.visitmix.com. Join developer peers for Dublin’s MIX 11 live stream gathering, hosted in Microsoft’s Sandyford office.
Once the keynote concludes, you should have pizza and beer in your hands and you’ll be invited to put questions to the local development team, as well as getting up close and personal with some interesting touch devices – including a Microsoft Surface. [Me: this is sooooo cool!] Alternatively you can always network or play Kinect
There’ll be great prizes on offer for both in-person & virtual attendees. #MIX11IE is the hashtag to join Twitter conversation.
When: 4.30pm – 9pm, 12th April 2011
Location: Microsoft Atrium Building (Building 3) auditorium, Sandyford Industrial Estate, Carmanhall Road, Dublin 18.
Wednesday evening’s Meetball was a grand evening of networking. As one Meetballer put it:
As well as Alan’s demo about Toddle we were also told about YourLocal.ie by Emer Jameson. All Irish businesses are entitled to a free listing on YourLocal.ie – make sure yours is correct and up to date today. (And based on Des Martin’s blog post yesterday local search gets more important for business everyday.) Gary Mullan from Prosperity also talked to us about the importance about keeping the digitally skilled in Ireland.
If you would like to get along to the very next one on May 25th please register online (don’t worry I’ll remind you closer to May 25th!). Give me a holler on firstname.lastname@example.org or 01 5424154 if you would like to demo your company’s products or services.
In advance of his training course next week for the IIA, Des Martin of Local Search Marketing has written this blog post to impress upon us how important local search is for all businesses. If you think your business could benefit from learning more register now for Targeting Local Customers Online. This is a morning course taking place on March 30th and is keenly priced at €200 for non-members and €100 for members.
According to the Kelsey Group, ‘74 percent of internet users perform local searches’.
What is a local search? When you enter a location specific keyword you are performing a ‘local search’. For example searching for ‘dublin pizza’ above. Many of you will have noticed that these local searches now trigger a map in search engine results from Google (Map highlighted in red above. Click on the image for a larger version.).
Note: Search queries with ‘local intent’ also appear. i.e. restaurant, pizza, butcher – by themselves can trigger the map results to appear.
This map and results are generally placed at the top of the search results. More recently Google have begun to blend the local map listings with what were traditionally the organic results (free listings). This can be seen in searches like ‘accountant dublin’ below. The local ranking factors are playing a big part in these blended results (we have highlighted the map and local listing in red).
Google return local and mobile search results based on a different set of criteria to the traditional search results (SERPs). Effectively they use a different algorithm. Small and Local businesses can now compete for prime positions at the top of the search results without spending the large sums of money that were previously required. The key is to focus your efforts in the right areas by building up your company profile across the web. Local Search has been growing in importance for the last few years. It’s time to sit up and take notice.
Why have local searches become so important?
There are several reasons. One of the main reasons is the rise of the smart phone. There are now an estimated 1 million iPhone and Android devices in the Irish market. These people are no longer confined to their PC to perform internet searches. These people actively search for products and services daily while on the move. What’s more these people may be very close to your physical location.
When someone searches for a ‘cork restaurant’ on their smart phone, there is a very good chance that this person is close to the centre of Cork and is likely to have lunch/ dinner in the next hour or two. If your restaurant is in position on the search results, you have a decent chance of converting that searcher to a customer; if not you are ignoring a major segment of the Irish market.
What’s more, mobile searches last considerably less than their PC equivalent. So that person will make up their mind in a short space of time and may find many existing websites awkward to navigate on a mobile phone.
This is where the local listing (Google Places) comes into its own. See mobile screen shot:
Example of a local search conducted on an iphone above.
The mobile searcher is presented with Google Places page information. With the Place page you get information relevant for decision making, this being: map location, directions, click to call phone number. All of this is available in Google without ever having to enter the business website. This is hugely beneficial for mobile searchers. With one further click they can see reviews, street view images of the location and often additional images supplied by the business owner as demonstrated in the screenshots below:
Any Irish business in the retail/ hospitality trade needs to feature prominently for local searches that relate to their products and services. If you don’t feature, you are losing customers.
People searching for local business online are further along in the purchase cycle, the cost of converting each consumer is lower and the return on investment is higher. Targeting these searchers produces real results for local and multi-store retailers.
This is where Local Search becomes an essential part of your online strategy
- Google Places listings are the tip of the Local Search Iceberg. They demonstrate what you can achieve by targeting local search results with Google Places. One million smart phone searchers in Ireland alone.
- Local Optimisation. Local Search can also be applied to onpage optimisation for websites, including designing website alternatives for mobile searchers. Google presents different results for mobile searchers. They rank these results partially based on how well the page will render on the type of phone that submitted the query. For more detail on mobile SEO, here is a great article by Cindy Krum < . This means having a mobile version of your website increasingly important.
- Local pay per click. Targeting local keywords reduces the level of competition and the bid price paid for local keywords in PPC programs like Adwords. Local keywords are more targeted and result in a higher click through rate which will in turn help with your Adwords quality score.
- Local Social Media. Lots going on in this space at present. Facebook recently launched their check in service Facebook Places in Ireland. Facebook Deals is due to follow hot on the heels of Places. This will allow business owners to target local consumers with ‘deal’ based offerings. This promises to be a great promotional tool for local business.
In addition business owners can reward and attract local consumers using existing social media like ‘FourSquare’ and local focused blogging.
- Group Buying websites like citydeal.ie (Groupon) have exploded in the past few months. Increasingly local consumers are finding out about ‘local deals’ through these websites. Local Business owners need to adopt a group buying strategy to maximize their return when running group deal promotions. Pay attention to building a relationship with the consumer and gain repeat business rather than be left one time consumer and ultimately a loss.
Begin your local search campaign today:
A local search campaign uses an integrated strategy involving
- Google places listings,
- pay per click advertising,
- search engine optimisation
- and social media
to convert local leads into new customers. An additional area that is fast becoming important for local business is Group Buying websites. These can be a great promotional tool, but you need to factor in the total cost and how to maximize the return on investment.
About the Author:
Des Martin is the director of Local Search Marketing who specialise in local search strategy. Their client list includes sole traders, SMEs, franchises and multi location retailers. Des will be presenting a series of training courses run by the IIA in the coming months.
This is the second of the presentations from “8 More Ways to Sell Even More Stuff”, the IIA Conference for Online Retailers that took place in the Burlington at the beginning of the month. Please excuse the slow pace of releasing them – we’ll get there!
In this audio you will hear Conor O’Neill, CEO of Loudervoice, talking about how customer reviews can add credibility to your business and ultimately boost your sales.
C’mon he looks like James Bond: how could you not want to listen to a man as dapper as that!
|This event was sponsored by:|
Last week the IIA organised the second in a series of events for online retailers “8 More Ways to Sell Even More Stuff“. I plonked my digital audio recorder on the podium to capture the presentations to share them with you. You can also download the presentations from the Resources section of the IIA website (membership required).
This case study is presented by Darren Grant of OrganicSupermarket.ie who kicks off telling us that he opened The Organic Supermarket in Blackrock the day that the recession officially started. Their business plan was as he says, “A Celtic Tiger business plan” and so he had to think of another way to grow his company that didn’t require credit from the bank that wasn’t forthcoming. He looked to the internet to grow his catchment from 4.5k in the South Dublin area to potentially 4.5m across Ireland.
|This event was sponsored by:|