In this post I get more than a little ranty about my pet internet peeves and Darren decides to throw in his tuppenceworth too. However, on a positive note, I do share some useful resources and content. I wonder finally is it time to resurrect Feedback Friday?
A tweet I saw from Michele Neylon in Blacknight and another from Ann Donnelly of O’Mahony Donnelly eBusiness reminded me of one of my personal online pet peeves. They were both complaining about sites that did not work if you left out the “www” e.g. iia.ie versus www.iia.ie. It’s a little thing I know but I did title this post as being about my pet online peeves!
Will I go on? Okay a little venting! Another one that drives me a little more bonkers than I am already is Out of Office emails that begin with Re: + my subject line. This means that I have to check them just in case you have replied to my email. Not a problem when it’s an individual one to one email but when you send to a list of over 6000 as we do with the Digital Digest it can become a bit of a chore. I know, I know that not everyone has control over how this works on their email but are you sure you can’t fix it on your email?
On the subject of email, I am asking you now to check your signature and make absolutely sure that you include a contact phone number at the very least after you sign off on every email, even then ones that only say “Grand fine with me.”
Whatever about not including your phone number on every sign-off a registered company in Ireland is required by law to include certain details on their website (See Information Leaflet No.7 on the CRO website). It is best practice to include as much detail in your contact page as possible. We also use Meebo (see on the right) to allow people to contact us live. With the recent news that Google will be including negative/ positive reviews in their search algorithms wouldn’t you prefer that people contact you one to one with their complaint rather than write an online review that is negative about your customer service rather than focussing on your exemplary product? (Thanks Christophe Bernigaud for the link!)
On a slightly more serious note I abhor websites that rip off content. Obviously we’ve all discovered through Google Alerts that some blog somewhere has wholesale copied and pasted our blog content as part of some weird link farming activity (SEO specialists – help me out on this one!) but it’s clear that this is fairly automated and it won’t take long for the host of the free blogging platform to shut them down. What bugs me is when legitimate businesses copy and paste content from other sites, maybe write a prefacing paragraph and sometimes include a link back to the original post. A couple of blogs I have seen recently have done this and I am racking my brain trying to work out if they think this is okay. Yes by all means quote salient points from the content you have read online but please reference and link to it properly. This one particular blog I had ocassion to visit had really good content and I was thinking, “This guy is wasted here: his content is gold!” It was only after day 5 of 5 of top-quality content that a link back to the original article that I realised it was a word for word match. There’s a name for this and it’s copyright infringement and even if the law can’t help you, by Nelly, the internet will. Another give away on a different blog was the fact that the blogging software garbled the pasted text, displaying the HTML code for special characters (eg á). Nobody types that stuff by accident… I presumed the worst and thought, “Poor show, chaps!”
On a more positive note I read a great blog post recently entitled “Things You Should Do Immediately After Launching a Website” which will have food for thought and some actionable items for nearly everyone who is responsible for a website. (Hat Tip to DeepSpin for that one!)
When my colleague Darren, our events & training manager, realised I was writing this post he sent me an email with his pet peeves for your enlightenment. We’re easily ticked off, aren’t we?
Websites that automatically play music or videos. It’s not helpful – I know how to click play! It’s more likely to make me close your page rather than sit and listen to your new song/advertising spiel/video introduction…
Flashy, sparkly, slow-loading homepages. Chances are, I’m just looking for your email address. Don’t make me wait two minutes to see your actual content. Close page, move on.
Websites that don’t actually tell me what the company does. Is it so hard to include a short paragraph telling me what you do? Where’s your About Page?
Pop-up ads. Do I really need to elaborate on this one?
Not knowing the difference between you’re and your.
Typos in generel. Peopel, we live in de age of Splelchek, use it.
Sites that are incompatible with my Mac. This makes me sad and it makes your website useless to me.
I’m done (for now)
Regular readers of this blog will remember a feature I ran on a Friday for a good while called Feedback Friday. It was intended to help companies get some ideas about areas in their sites (their own or clients’) that needed improvement. Well Darren reckons it’s time we resurrected this feature. So if you are a member of the IIA and you would like some constructive feedback about your website or an element of your site or a client’s site please email details to me and we’ll kick off again.
Last year I delivered a special virtual hamper to all of our members. I said it would be annual so the time has come again to gather up all your goodies and share them with your fellow members. Your gift can be a discount on a product or service, an hour consultation, a free trial, whatever you would like – just use your imagination.
Send your special offer to members at iia dot ie before Friday 4th December at 5pm and I’ll wrap it up, shake some elve dust on it and send it on it’s merry way.
This month’s Digital Digest went out this week. It’s just under a year now since we’ve been using the Newsweaver system and we are really happy with it. It was especially useful while we were organising Congress as we had different groups involved in different ways: speakers, shortlistees, demonstrators and, of course, delegates. It really helped smooth some of the processes of communicating important information about Congress.
So it is with dismay that I read in my Campaign Monitor ezine (and about 2 seconds later in an email from IIA Member Pixel Design – thank you very much!) that Microsoft are planning to go ahead with their plan to use “the crippled Word rendering engine to display HTML emails in Outlook 2010″ as Campaign Monitor and The Email Standards Project put it.
I think Microsoft are doing lots of great things and I love and use some of their products regularly and happily. But I also love my ezines. I’ve been writing ezines for about eight years now and trying to keep up to speed on what works and what doesn’t in email. I know that many of the beautiful email newsletters that we see today came about from painstaking developing and care for cross platform/ browser/ email client compatibility. Email marketing can be really effective but it has to be able to relate visually to everything else a company produces online. It must reinforce that relationship so that even if a subscriber signed up on your site a week, a month or more previously, they will instantly recognise your brand and style in their inbox no matter what email client they use. You can read another interesting perspective on this issue on Long Zheng’s Blog who points out that while Outlook 2010 may have problems there are other email clients that are equally questionable when it comes to HTML rendering. If you do any sort of communication with your clients via email you should care about this issue and if you use Twitter you should add your voice to the campaign at fixoutlook.org
And if you aren’t emailing your clients em… right. I don’t know what to say to you. Try this for starters maybe?
At the start of 2009 we undertook a survey among Irish businesses that already have blogs. We asked them a number of questions to try and understand the objectives of their blogging activities, what results they were seeing and how much time and effort they put into managing their blogs.
We will be discussing the results in detail at the Business Blogging breakfast briefing on April 22nd, but in the meantime here are the high-level survey results:
This is written by Campbell Scott of IGOPeople.com. All comments, queries and case study suggestions welcomed via comments below. Thanks! – RS, IIA.
Our previous case study gave an excellent overview of some of the social media tools that are available to businesses, including blogs, Facebook, Twitter, Bebo, Youtube etc. This case study is based on observations about how O2 Ireland have embraced the use of social media, to get closer to their customers (and potential customers). This summary records some of the interactions with customers that have taken place, some of these on IGOpeople.
O2 were well aware that their brand, products and services, pricing etc. were all being talked about online by their customers. These discussions were taking place on blogs, discussion forums and social networks. Many people would have posted comments which were negative in tone, complaining about specific problems or the way they had been treated by O2 as a customer. For O2, the challenge was how to engage or join in the conversations taking place. Many of the comments in discussion forums are anonymous, or take place in a tone and context where O2’s response or involvement in the discussion may not be particularly welcome.
O2’s answer to this problem was to take the brave move of creating their own, open user discussion forum, where customers could ask questions and seek help, voice their opinion or complain. Registration was a requirement, to help O2 get in touch with members privately if required. This was a very positive move which was received well by O2 customers. As this was new territory for O2, they did demonstrate some early naivety, by correcting the content of some members posts, but their customer community was tolerant of this, as it was a new environment where everyone was learning.
Although the O2 Forum has developed from these early days and is now a popular and active community, O2 have extended the range of social media tools they use to reach customers, including Bebo, Twitter and now IGOpeople (links take you directly to the O2 profile page). We’re delighted to have O2 as part of IGOpeople, but everyone can learn from some of the specific conversations they have become involved in.
O2 have jumped straight into IGOpeople, posting regularly about items of interest to their customers – promoting shiny new phones and new product releases. This week, they offered customers the opportunity to direct any questions they may have to the Head of Customer Care – not something that is available to a consumer every day of the week!
However, the thing that is impressed me about O2, is the willingness to reach out to customers. There are a number of conversations where they acknowledge their shortcomings and state how they will fix things up, or recognise the need to make changes in the future. Their answers don’t always give you the answer you might demand, but they are there to listen and consistently discuss the issue, in a really honest and believable way – even if the answer isn’t quite what you want.
Here are some nice examples of the conversations they get involved in
The IIA are delighted to welcome Murray Consultants as a new member of the association. Murray Consultants are, as they write themselves on their website:
“an independent Irish owned public relations consultancy, specialising in corporate and public affairs, consumer public relations and event management.”
They have a broad range of clients in technology and telecommunications so they are a great fit for the IIA membership. In fact they are already getting busy, as one of their team is a member of the IIA Social Media Working Group.
The Irish Internet Association invites tenders from member companies to develop a cutting edge email marketing communications application. The IIA wish to develop their email marketing to reflect the needs of their membership and improve communications with them.
Currently the IIA publish regular Event Alerts to notify subscribers about upcoming events and a monthly Digital Digest which summarises members’ and industry news, vacancies, appointments and tenders. The IIA hopes to improve on this model to ensure timely and relevant communications with its subscribers.
All interested parties should contact Roseanne Smith, Membership, Marketing and Communications Manager at firstname.lastname@example.org for the full tender document.
Closing date for completed tenders is 21 July 2008.
Only tenders from IIA members will be considered. You can join the IIA in four easy steps.
The IIA’s monthly Digital Digest is now available online. Included in the Digest this month are details about
- the IIA’s upcoming table quiz,
- IIEA seeking submissions on Ireland’s Digital Future
- Comstat, statistics from Comreg’s Trend Unit
- The upcoming Irish eGovernment Awards eSymposium
- Tons of member news and offers, vacancies, appointments and resources
- And much more.
All members of the IIA who add press releases, tenders, vacancies or appointments to the extranet will see that information included in the next digest. The digest is received by over 4,500 subscribers. A number of members reported that they have already been contacted on foot of Monday’s publication and all it cost them was the time it took to upload their info. Featured advertising is also available so if you are interested in advertising opportunities contace me Roseanne at members at iia dot ie or skype me at clogher.
It got your attention anyway didn’t it? I read it in this month’s edition of Marketing Age the Marketing Institute of Ireland’s bi-monthly publication. It’s from their adaptation of Richard Laermer and Mark Simmons Punk Marketing Manifesto and it is point number one of 14. My main reason for mentioning it is by way of introducing the IIA’s twitter channel. “Ah now hold on”, I hear you say, “I’m only just getting the hang of this blogging business and you introduce microblogging!!” I’ve been microblogging myself since earlier this year and it felt like a good channel to connect with people who might be interested in the IIA, it’s events, members and opportunities so I took the risk and so far, so good. Try it out yourself. You can follow me, I’ll follow you. I know some of our members use it to great effect and hopefully they will add their comments below about their experiences. You can zone in on the Irish Twitterati at www.twit.ie – you’ll probably see some familiar names and faces.
Let me know if you are using other microblogging platforms and if you would like the IIA to contribute there as well and I will look into it.