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Here you will find general updates on Design365 and a little bit of light reading
  • Golightme Candles - new fully responsive site!

    We’ve recently created this fabulous new site for Golightme Candles. We’ve ensured that it’s fully responsive and mobile friendly.

    Golightme Candles was created back in 2012, Leanne always had a passion for candles and luxurious home fragrancing, and she also has a very creative flare. All products handmade by Marise & Leanne Golightly, stocklists are based around the North East.

    Go check out the full site here - http://www.golightmecandles.com/


    golightmecandles golightmecandles1 golightmecandles2
  • The Angel of Corbridge - New Responsive Site!

    We have recently launched this stunning new site for the Angel of Corbridge. We decided to make it very image-based and user friendly. The simplistic and sophisticated design has proven very popular.

    The Angel of Corbridge is a Historic Coaching Inn built in 1726 in the beautiful countryside of Northumberland.

    The Angel is a gathering place for all day dining with Northumbrian tradition in our bar, lounge, barn restaurant, private dining room, fish and chip takeaway and bedrooms. It is Northumbrian tradition and hospitality at its best.

    To see the full site, please visit http://www.theangelofcorbridge.com/


    angel 1 angel 2 angel 3
  • How videos can help social media marketing

    No matter what social network you flick through now, you’re bound to see a number of videos pop up on your home feed. When compared to last year, it’s amazing how much statistics and trends can really change. Over the last 12 months almost every major social network, including Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram have increased the prominence and importance of visual content.

    Here are some stats we found from http://blog.hubspot.com/marketing/visual-content-marketing-strategy

    • Last year the amount of video from people and brands in Facebook's News feed increased 3.6X year-over-year.
    • Visual content is a key component in each of the top 5 most effective B2B marketing tactics.
    • B2C marketers are more likely to use original videos (63% B2C vs. 56% B2B) and original visual assets (63% B2C vs. 56% B2B).
    • Social Media Examiner recently asked marketers which forms of content they most want to learn about in 2015. Creating original visual assets took first place, followed by producing original videos.
    • In 2014 the use of video content for B2B marketing increased by 8% to 58%, while the use of infographics topped the adoption list increasing in usage by 9% to 52%.

    With Facebook and now Twitter introducing the auto-play feature, it makes it easier for brands to get their videos seen! As the social world is always growing fast and now the likes of popular networks - Instagram and Snapchat allow videos, the possibilities are endless and you’re really missing out if you’re not uploading videos to social media!

    If you’d like to talk to us about increasing your online audience through social media, please contact us.


    video - facebook stats
  • Facebook to remove inactive accounts from page like count

    Have you seen a small dip in the number of page likes on your Facebook business page? Please don’t worry! This doesn’t mean that you’re doing anything wrong, it is simply due to Facebook removing inactive accounts so that your page like count is more accurate and meaningful.

    There are two types of inactive accounts that will be removed from your page like count, these are voluntarily deactivated accounts and memorialized accounts.

    It might feel a big disheartening to see that your page like count has reduced with Facebook having the clear out but they’ve done it with good reason. The main benefit from this is to keep your business page consistent and true. By removing inactive Facebook accounts from your page audience date, it gives you more accurate figures when looking at the page insights. You’ll be able to see a lot easier who actively follows your page and find your followers through tools like lookalike audiences.

    So please don’t be alarmed if at first glance it looks like your business page has lost the interest of followers and more people are clicking the ‘dislike’ button. Remind yourself of this update and remember that meaningful data is more important!

  • How to choose the right web company

    Last week we received a phone call from a lady looking to transfer her services to us.  Whilst we are delighted to take on new customers a phrase she used set off a few alarm bells and got us thinking.  She said “you will be the 4th web company I have worked with in 3 years”.  So the big question is, has she been really unlucky and chosen the wrong companies, perhaps by not doing the right research or are her expectations and what she is being promised unrealistic?  I will let you know the answer to that later in the blog.

    So, how do you go about choosing the right web company?  Creating a quality website or upgrading your current site, if done correctly, won’t be cheap and this is a good place to start when choosing your web company.

    Know your budget

    We would suggest that you set out a budget of how much you are looking to spend and choose a company that can support this.  If you are a new starter, with limited funds then there are some companies that will do you a website for under £200.  This will give you a presence and may be a good starting point.  After all, with 50% of businesses failing in the first 12 months it makes sense not to stretch yourself too far.  That said, when dealing with the companies that produce this type of site we strongly suggest you read the small print and ensure there are no separation charges.  Also ensure the domain name is registered in your name as again there have been incidences of excessive fees to transfer the domain.

    When considering your budget, remember to factor in some ongoing marketing costs.  Whether this is for Search Engine Optimisation, Google AdWords, E-Mail campaigns or social media. It’s great to have a really nice website but if no one is seeing it and making enquiries then you will end up with a very nice folly.

    Do your research

    There are many web companies offering the world but sadly, the days of the .com millionaire are long gone, unless of course you come up with the next big App or new social media platform.  We suggest when choosing the company you want to work with, do your research and ask for the following;

    • Do they have any success stories of companies they have transformed and created a significant return on investment?
    • Do they have any testimonials or case studies they can share?
    • Can we contact ‘ANY’ of your clients for feedback? This is a great question as many businesses will point you towards their favoured clients and maybe not those who have posed challenges.

    Get Technical

    There are a lot of companies such as Graphic Designers and IT companies who have bolted web on as a service. Whilst this is not a bad thing we have seen many incidences where open source software such as WordPress, Drupal or Joomla has been used to create quick and easy websites. These can look good but if they are not hosted properly or the security is not updated then this leaves the site open to malicious software that can damage your reputation and in some cases get your site taken offline.  Always ensure the person designing your site understands the technical elements so ask them what security measures are in place? And what back up procedures do you have?

    Ask lots of questions

    When I started the business I was always mindful of what would happen to my customers if I got hit by a bus.  But more seriously when working on my own I was the sales guy, marketing chap, project manager, accounts department and PR and it amazed me how I actually got work done.  It occurred to me as I was sat in a meeting that I really wanted it to end quickly because I had another deadline to meet. My point is, it’s always good to know the answers to the ‘what if’ questions, especially when dealing with people who are working on their own.

    Here are some good questions to ask;

    • How do I get in touch out of hours if I have a problem?
    • What support do I have if you get Ill?
    • Who owns the website once completed?
    • Do I get a copy of my website or access to backups?
    • Where are your websites hosted? UK or Abroad?

    Ask for Recommendations

    Of course the best way to get the right company is to ask for recommendations. Business contacts and friends will be able to give you the low down on the right companies to use. They will also tell you their shortfalls which might not be a show stopper but certainly gives you a good insight into the company and ideas for the right questions to ask.  We have built our company on word of mouth recommendations and our aim when creating a site is for you to be so impressed that you refer us on.  This is our best and most effective marketing tool as it provides a win-win situation.

    Now I said I would answer the question about the lady who said we would be the 4th company in 3 years.  Well it turns out we won’t.  She mentioned a few web companies she had previously worked with, they were good companies with strong reputations. Unfortunately, we decided there was only one common denominator and politely declined.

  • Welcome Aboard!

    We’d like to take a moment to introduce you to our two newest members of Team365!

    We have Kerry who is our new Media Marketing Manager and Gemma, our new Business Development Manager. They have both joined us in our Newton Aycliffe office.

    Kerry – Media Marketing Manager

    In her spare time she likes to go for long countryside walks and loves camping! She has taken a Hootsuite University course. She successfully became a Hootsuite Certified Professional so any questions you may have regarding Social Media, speak to Kerry!


    Gemma – Business Development Manager

    Gemma is a Marketing graduate from Northumbria Uni, Mum to Pippa (15 months) & Millie (Shihtzu). She is addicted to Instagram, obsessed with Pinterest and love taking photos of everything. Would love to open her own vintage tea room!

  • Instagram for business - How could it help you?

    Launched in 2010, Instagram has quickly become one of the most popular and talked about photo-sharing social network. Unfortunately, not many businesses have tapped into the world of Instagram yet so we’d like to share with you some facts about the social network and maybe you’ll re-consider?

    Instagram grew by 50% between March and December 2014 which allowed it to reach the 300 million user mark – that’s when you know you’ve made it • More than 75 million users per day • Since being created, there have been 30 billion photos shared • 70 million photos are uploaded daily • In 2011 Instagram introduced #hashtags • In June 2013 the video upload feature was launched • 51% of users are male and 49% of users are female

    Instagram created a simple network design that allows your image to take centre stage, having your image/video fill the full screen. With all of this exposure potential at your fingertips, surely it would be a shame not to take advantage of it?

    Here are some examples of brand campaigns ran on Instagram;

    #Fiestagram by Ford Ford used Instagram to promote the Fiesta’s high-tech features back in 2011, giving away a Ford Fiesta as the final prize. Every week for 6 weeks, they announced a new hashtag associated with one of the Fiesta’s high-tech features such as #entry #music #hidden. The idea being that people would upload a photo each week using #Fiestagram and that week’s particular hashtag. Each week the best photos were chosen, featured in real-life galleries and digital billboards and were also in the running for the final prize, a Ford Fiesta. During the 6 week campaign, over 16,000 photos were uploaded and Ford gained over 12,000 fans on Facebook.

    1 (Image source - http://mashable.com/2012/02/02/ford-fiesta-instagram/)

    #Fannerisms by Buffalo Wild Wings

    As Buffalo Wild Wings is seen as a place for sports fans to hang out after work, enjoying good company along with good food, they thought they’d tap into Instagram to create a campaign during last year’s World Cup to help kick-start their Instagram profile. They simply asked users to upload images of themselves enjoying watching the games at any Buffalo Wild Wings using the hashtag #Fannerisms. In return, BWW used the direct message feature to reward fans for uploading their image by instructing them how they could win a gift card. This cool campaign gained them 1,600 followers on Instagram in just 3 days!

    2 (Image source - http://www.adweek.com/news/technology/buffalo-wild-wings-tests-instagram-direct-launch-brand-account-158324)

    #WhiteCupContest by Starbucks

    Starbucks are very pro-active on their social accounts and wanted to take the opportunity to reward their creative and loyal customers. They created the #WhiteCupContest which simply asked fans to customise their iconic white cups with a design of their choice, upload their images to Instagram and submit by using the hashtag #WhiteCupContest. During this campaign, Starbucks received over 4,000 entries in only 3 short weeks! The winning cup was translated into a limited edition reusable cup available for sale in stores.

    3 (Image source - https://news.starbucks.com/news/starbucks-invites-you-to-decorate-its-iconic-white-cup)

    I bet you never imagined the endless amounts of opportunities Instagram has brought to businesses through simple campaigns. Brands all over the world are running campaigns daily to boost their following. I hope that you’ve now re-considered using Instagram for your business and when you’re all set up and running, remember to give us a follow on @_design365


  • Setting Up Your Design365 Hosted Email Account (Microsoft Outlook)

    To Set Up Your E-mail Account in Microsoft Outlook 2003

    • Open Microsoft Outlook
    • In Microsoft Outlook, from the E-mail Accounts menu, select Tools
    • On the E-mail Accounts wizard window, select Add a new e-mail account, and then click Next
    • For your server type, select POP3 or IMAP, and then click Nextoutlook3
    • On the Internet E-mail Settings (POP3/IMAP) window, enter your information as follows:
      • Your Name  Your first and last name.
      • E-mail Address  Your email address.
      • User Name   Your email address, again.
      • Password  Your email account password.
      • Incoming mail server (POP3)  Your incoming server as provided by Design365
      • Outgoing mail server (SMTP)  Your outgoing server as provided by Design365outlook4
    • Click More Settings.
    • On the Internet E-mail Settings window, go to the Outgoing Server tab.
    • Select My outgoing server (SMTP) requires authentication. outlook5
    • Click OK. outlook4
    • Click Next. outlook7
    • Click Finish.
  • Five Cs Behind Great Web Content

    Bruce Says… After doing a bit of research on what does and doesn’t make a good website, I’ve stumbled across a bit of internet psychology that makes it incredibly easy to write cracking content and a brilliantly engaging blog. It’s all down to the curly third letter of the alphabet… The first C, which your web content needs to be, is Contemporary. First impressions really are everything and if someone flicks onto your site and what they immediately see is dated, bland and boring, chances are they won’t hang about for very long. Also, get rid of Flash. It doesn’t work on some Apple devices such as iPads and iPhones, limiting the types of media your site will function properly on. The second C is Compatible. The key to engaging with your target market is knowing exactly who they are and what they want. Therefore, you can create internet content that is perfectly compatible with your audience and their wants and likes. So, whether it's a comment about Facebook or the British weather, if it shares an interest with your audience, they are bound to engage. The third C is Curious. The content on your website needs to catch your user’s attentions by sparking an interest within them. If someone is not fascinated by some element of your webpage they will not hang about for long and a competitor’s website that captures a user’s curiosity will win their business. Content needs to be that little bit out of the ordinary through words, pictures, tweets or pins! The fourth C is Controversial. When it comes to web content, being out there and daring is the best method. You want your blog to make its readers question their own way of thinking every now and then, or they will simply pass over it and it won’t cause the desired effect. You want your web content to be debatable to cause maximum engagement and ideally you want it to be spoken from a position to make it more personable. This leads me nicely onto the fifth C: Characters. Personable web content gets people involved with identifiable characters and names. Make your story relevant - drop a few names! If your content provides human interest, it ensures greater engagement. So, if you want great web content that creates a bit of a stir and increases the chance of engagement, cram those five Cs into your blog and watch your business boom. Happy scribbling peeps!

  • 10 marketing tips to remember...

    Marketing tips of the week 1) Loyalty - building loyalty gives your customers a reason to return 2) Competitors - dont be afraid to use techniques used by your competitors 3) Email Signature - use this as a marketing tool, add links to your social media pages, links to your website, add your mission statement or company strap line 4) Testimonials - Adding client testimonials to your site builds confidence 5) Comment - Comment on associated blogs and social media 6) Data capture - Use offline and online techniques to increase your mailing list 7) Stakeholders - build a relationship with local businesses and members of the community 8) PR - Send out press releases when a new product is launched 9) Awards / Accreditations - List any awards or accreditations your company has on marketing literature, this will build confidence to the customer 10) Layout - Keep marketing material clear and easy to understand

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