Award Winning Web Agency in Warrington https://liberonet.co.uk An award winning e-commerce & web development agency in Warrington Tue, 09 Apr 2019 08:59:55 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.1.1 Ixis acquires LiberoNet to expand open source expertise https://liberonet.co.uk/ixis-acquires-liberonet-to-expand-open-source-expertise/ https://liberonet.co.uk/ixis-acquires-liberonet-to-expand-open-source-expertise/#respond Mon, 07 Jan 2019 16:16:28 +0000 https://liberonet.co.uk/?p=6264 Digital development, hosting and support company Ixis today announces the acquisition of Cheshire-headquartered LiberoNet as part of its ambitious growth plans. 7th January 2019 LiberoNet was founded in 2010 and has grown by offering a range of ecommerce, UX creative and web development services. Ixis has historically specialised in development, support and maintenance, and hosting…

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Digital development, hosting and support company Ixis today announces the acquisition of Cheshire-headquartered LiberoNet as part of its ambitious growth plans.

7th January 2019

LiberoNet was founded in 2010 and has grown by offering a range of ecommerce, UX creative and web development services.

Ixis has historically specialised in development, support and maintenance, and hosting services for websites using the Drupal content management system, but is now expanding its enterprise quality expertise to cover other open source platforms. The acquisition is a key part of this diversification strategy, enabling Ixis to rapidly acquire a broad spread of skills and experience.

The LiberoNet team will be relocating from their office in Birchwood and joining Ixis’ headquarters at The Base in Central Warrington. 4 full time staff, including the founder Dan Pala, a project manager and two full stack developers.

Mike Carter, Managing Director at Ixis said: “LiberoNet and Ixis are a perfect fit. LiberoNet’s ecommerce, WordPress and UX expertise will complement Ixis allowing us to expand our service offering to a wider audience. Ultimately, Ixis prides itself on being a forward-thinking agency, committed to the best fit, safe, secure and proven technologies and harnessing them for our client’s benefit, and branching out onto other open source platforms is the natural evolution of that. We’re really excited about this next phase in the company’s development, and to have their talented people along for the ride.”

Dan Pala of LiberoNet said ‘We are very happy to be joining up with Ixis. At LiberoNet we were ready to move into the next stage of growth, this merge will allow us to benefit from Ixis’ strengths, including their knowledge base, ISO certifications and excellent support service. We will be able grow our own skills and widen the services we can offer to the clients we bring with us, as well as expanding the capabilities of Ixis. As a ShopWare partner we can bring our ecommerce expertise and offer something different in the marketplace. We can also offer website builds in WordPress and bespoke applications with Laravel, supporting greater flexibility and more choice for our combined clients.’

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The GDPR Compliance Guide For WordPress: What You Need To Do https://liberonet.co.uk/the-gdpr-compliance-guide-for-wordpress-what-you-need-to-do/ https://liberonet.co.uk/the-gdpr-compliance-guide-for-wordpress-what-you-need-to-do/#respond Mon, 09 Jul 2018 12:54:08 +0000 https://liberonet.co.uk/?p=6026 The post The GDPR Compliance Guide For WordPress: What You Need To Do appeared first on Award Winning Web Agency in Warrington.

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Our Guide to GDPR for WordPress Users

Introduction

It’s everywhere right now. Your email inbox is full of people asking you to consent to lists. Every site you go on has a popup about their new updated privacy policy. Everyone is shouting around like its the end of the world as we know it. GDPR is here.

It’s really not that bad.

If you are worrying about GDPR and what it means for your WordPress website then you’ve come to the right place, Libero Net has you covered with this handy how to guide on what you can do to make your website GDPR compliant! Buckle up, have a coffee and let’s give you the whistle stop tour.

What is GDPR?

On the 25th of May 2018, new legislation will come into force to replace the 1998 Data Protection Act, updating it for the 21st Century. The EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) will give consumers much more control over how organisations use their personal data. GDPR will also introduce very large penalties for organisations which fail to comply with the new rules. The worst offenders can expect fines of up to €20 Million, or 4% of turnover, whichever is higher.

What do I Need to Do To be GDPR Compliant?

The requirements for GDPR are far reaching and varied. The rules are intentionally left open to interpretation meaning there is no “rubber stamp” you can get. You are left to figure out exactly how to comply yourself.

We’ve written this handy guide to some of the key steps you can take to make your website GDPR compliant. This post is aimed at GDPR Compliance for WordPress but a lot of what is written here will be useful regardless of what kind of website you have.

Remember that there may be more you need to do, so we recommend consulting with a legal professional to ensure you do all you need to become GDPR ready.

Do Some Data Mapping

Do you know every piece of data you collect from your customers? If you are like most people you probably don’t.

Doing a data mapping exercise is one of the first steps you should do on the road to compliance. The best way to do this is to plot down your customer journey through your site, and think about what data you collect at each point. After that you should figure out the journey for each of these pieces of data – What is it used for? Where do you store it? What third parties do you give it to?

I’d recommend using some sort of flowchart software for this, such as draw.io. By the end of this task you’ll have a visual map of all the data flows on your website making life much easier when it comes to doing all the other tasks and all the documentation for GDPR.

Record Your Data Processing Activities

Once you have your shiny new data map, it’s time to look at the data you collect. For each piece of data you need to figure out why you are collecting the data you do. Record exactly why you are collecting each piece of data in a spreadsheet. You can use this spreadsheet for figuring out your legal basis for processing the data as well as how long you keep it (more on this later).

If you are looking at a piece of data and trying to figure out why you need it, perhaps you should consider whether you need it at all. Under GDPR rules you should only process data if you genuinely need to, so take this exercise as an opportunity to earmark data you are collecting that you can do without.

Figure Out Your Data Retention Policy

Once you know why you are using your data you should figure out how long you need it. For each item of data do some thinking and figure out how long you need to keep it for. For some data you may have a legal requirement to keep it for a certain length of time but for other data it will come down to a judgement call. GDPR requires you to hold data no longer than is necessary, but generally how long that is is up to you.

Figure Out Your Lawful Basis for Processing Data

You now know what data you collect, know where you keep it, know why you have it and how long you need it for – Now you need to figure out your legal basis for processing it. Under GDPR there are six different legal basis you can use to justify your processing of personal data. For most WordPress websites however you’ll generally use one of three:

Performance of Contract

Generally this legal basis is the one you use if you need to process personal data for someone to fulfil a contractual obligation to them, such as a plumbing company needing to process a person’s address to direct a plumber to their home for a callout they have purchased. It can also be because they have asked you to do something before entering into a contract, such as if a customer had requested a quote you would need to process their email address in order to give them the quote they had requested.

Legitimate Interest

In GDPR, Legitimate interest means that you believe it is in someone’s legitimate interest to process personal data. You use this basis when you believe processing the personal data is within your interests, or those of the person whose data you are processing. Generally it might cover situations like emailing a past customer with an offer on a similar product to one they’ve bought previously. You have to prove a lot if you want to rely on legitimate interest, though it can generally be broken down into a three part test:

  1. Test Your Purpose: Is the interest legitimate?
  2. Test Whether it is necessary: Do you need to process data to fulfill this interest?
  3. The balancing test: Does the individual’s interest override the legitimate interest?

Remember that people can always object to you using data this way, and you need to keep anyone whose data you process in this way informed.

Consent

If all else fails, you can still process personal data with consent from the data subject (that is, the person who the data is about). Under GDPR, consent is much harder to obtain. It needs to be explicit (no hiding it in your terms and conditions), informed (you need to explain what you are asking permission for) and requires an affirmative action (no pre-ticked checkboxes!). If that wasn’t tough enough, if you are relying on consent to process your users’ data you should know that users can withdraw their consent at any time, and you need to make it easy for them to do so.

As scary as it sounds there are some simple things you can do as a site owner to make sure all of your consent requests are GDPR compliant. For most sites the main area you might ask for consent for is with email newsletters, you should adjust all of your contact forms to have a check box asking to send marketing emails to clients, if you plan to do so. Likewise if you plan to telemarket using numbers given on your website, or send mail advertising to peoples’ addresses when they enter them on your site and you rely on consent for this, a simple checkbox explaining what you want permission for should suffice in most cases, just make sure you store these responses as proof!

Another step towards a GDPR compliant WordPress site is a suitable cookie notice. If you don’t already have one you should create a cookie policy for your website. This policy should state what cookies are used on your site, what data the cookies capture as well as what you do with this information.

Your cookie policy should be clear, easy to read and navigate, as well as easily accessible on your website.  It must also explain how a user can opt out from having cookies placed on their browser by your website. You should also explain that some cookies are essential for the function of the site and that opting out of them may mean they can not use the site normally, if this is the case.

You should also explain how a customer can remove cookies from their computer (i.e by clearing their browser’s cache of cookies and then rejecting to have the cookies installed on their next visit).

It’s a very good idea to add a link to your cookie policy on the cookie notice you likely already have set up on your website for new visitors. I also recommend giving it a nice easy-to-find link in your footer, so it is accessible from most pages on your website.

Making a Privacy Policy

This one is big. Your website should have an easy-to-access privacy notice, explaining the following:

  • What personal data you process
  • What you use this personal Information for
  • How and when you collect this personal data
  • How the information is stored and protected
  • Who you share this information with
  • Your Lawful Basis for processing the information.

You should also make it clear where your users can ask questions about what you do with data. If you have a Data Protection Officer (DPO) then you should give contact details for them, otherwise it should be the contact details of whomever in your company has been given responsibility for GDPR and data protection. You should also let them know who to contact if they think there is a problem.

Make Sure Your Website is Secure

As the owner of a website this is a no brainer, even without GDPR you’d want to keep your website secure. However, under GDPR, protection of personal data held on your website is your responsibility. If you haven’t already set it up we’d recommend getting an SSL set up on your website. In addition to this there are plenty of WordPress plugins for security that you can use to make sure your site is as secure as you could reasonably expect.

Make an Incident Response Plan

Plan for the worst. No website will be impenetrable so you should take the time to come up with a response plan in case your website ever does get breached and data stolen. Remember under GDPR rules you have just 72 hours to inform the ICO once you become aware of a data compromise – better to calmly plan now than do it with a pressing deadline later.

Data Processing Agreements

A big thing for GDPR is making sure any contractors or processors you use have agreed to follow the rules also. While most big processors you are likely to use like Google, Facebook, MailChimp and the like will have already made their commitments to GDPR public or have asked you to agree to a data processing addendum, others may not have. Go back to your data map and for each third party that processes data for you, ensure you have a data processing agreement with them as you’ll be held liable if they misuse data you give them!

Make sure to have these agreements in place with any freelancers you use or your web development or digital marketing agency also if they process data on your behalf! Another key area to check is companies based outside the EU who may not be as interested or knowledgeable of GDPR rules.

Handle Subject Access Requests and the Right to be Forgotten

One of the fundamental rights and freedoms of EU citizens is the right to request the data you hold on them and the right to be forgotten.  Luckily for you you’ve now done your data mapping so you know exactly what data you hold and where it is by now. Still, you should make a plan for how exactly you fulfill these requests.

Finishing Up

If you’ve read this far I hope you’ve found this information helpful and feel more ready to tackle the GDPR beast. Just remember though – there’s plenty you need to do within your own company too, not just your WordPress website! Make sure you get familiar with GDPR – it is not going away any time soon. For more information on GDPR visit the ICO at their website.

DISCLAIMER:  Libero Net are not legal professionals. This document contains non-authoritative guidance. Neither Liberonet nor the Author accept any liability or responsibility that might occur as a consequence of the use, application or reliance on this material. We highly recommend seeking legal advice to ensure that you are fully GDPR compliant.

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When you Really Need to Get Stuff Done: Clear Your Headspace https://liberonet.co.uk/really-need-get-stuff-done-clear-headspace/ https://liberonet.co.uk/really-need-get-stuff-done-clear-headspace/#respond Fri, 01 Dec 2017 14:29:32 +0000 https://liberonet.co.uk/?p=5446 It’s easy to get lost in a busy workload, especially with the increasing interruptions of digital technology. One moment you can be deeply focused, and then a notification pops up. Your brain switches before you know it, and suddenly you’re looking at a photo of your friend’s cat. This is just one kind of interruption…

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It’s easy to get lost in a busy workload, especially with the increasing interruptions of digital technology. One moment you can be deeply focused, and then a notification pops up. Your brain switches before you know it, and suddenly you’re looking at a photo of your friend’s cat.

This is just one kind of interruption that can impede your ability to deliver valuable work. Not only does this pull you out of what you were doing, but it also creates a feeling of having far too much to do, and not enough time to do it in, which can overwhelm you.

Breaking down possible distractions will help. Think about what kind of distractions and interruptions you face daily. Is it colleagues, calls from clients, or your own constant urge to check your notifications that’s blocking you? Here are some of the key things we’ve noticed.

Mobile Phone Notifications

Notifications on your phone are a huge opportunity for distraction. If you don’t need to have your phone near you during work hours, then tuck it away somewhere and set times at which you can check it (e.g. lunch). It might be tough at first to resist the urge- after all, notification checking can be quite addictive- but stick to your times and your brain will become clearer and clearer.

If you do need your phone nearby, there’s many things you can do to reduce the impact. Think about what you absolutely need to hear, for example phone calls, and change the settings on your phone to only notify you of these during your work hours. Many smartphones will allow high customisation of notification settings, which you can use to reduce the clutter.

Emails: The Two Minute Rule

Think about how much you need to check your emails. Most people don’t need to constantly receive notifications, but many do. This can pull you instantly from what you’re working on and onto something else, and even if you ignore the alert message it might be too late to stop your brain from switching priority. If you do need to check often, try checking every hour on the hour.

Once you start working through emails, follow the two-minute rule. If the email will take more than two minutes to deal with, or if you need to follow it up, add it to your to-do list. If it will take less, deal with it there and then. Be tough on spam, newsletters and articles, and unsubscribe or segment these from your more important messages. Don’t leave your inbox with any messages in it once you’ve committed to checking it.

Interruptions from Colleagues

Another potential risk is interruption from colleagues. It might seem like you can’t do much about these, but there are ways to work around them.

You’ll need to tailor this to your situation. For example, if you’re often interrupted for status updates on projects or tasks, then try to have short daily update meetings. Here at Liberonet we have a daily meeting to run through current work, discuss any impediments and refocus team priorities. This is timeboxed; we’ll only spend 15 minutes maximum on this, at the start of the day, and we’ll stand up during the meeting to keep it short. Since we’ve done this we’ve noticed a massive reduction in ad-hoc status requests from each other.

Another common risk is interruption from staff, especially junior or new, asking for help. Encourage staff to work through everything they must do and write a list of questions to discuss in a dedicated meeting. If you need to show them new skills, try to avoid flipping between your own work and helping them with theirs. It’s usually easier and faster to dedicate yourself to them for a portion of your time, and work on your own tasks for the rest.

If you have a pressing deadline, or some other time-sensitive work to get done, make a polite request to your colleagues to ask you any questions they need to before you get stuck in. Sometimes, just asking nicely will do the trick, especially if they’re aware of what you need to do and can empathise. Offer an opportunity for them up front, and then ask that they write down anything non-urgent and bring it up when you’re done.

Create a tailored anti-distraction plan

List the things which impact you the most at your job, especially when you need to knuckle down and get stuff done. Rank them in terms of their impact on you, and how likely it is that you can reduce or remove them. Then work to clear up your headspace, piece by piece.

Once you’ve cleared your headspace, you need a great task management methodology to get the most out of your distraction-free time. The next article in this series covers how you can use Kanban, a method initially developed for building cars, to work efficiently and fast.

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Moving from SellerDeck – Out with the Old in with the New https://liberonet.co.uk/moving-sellerdeck-old-new/ https://liberonet.co.uk/moving-sellerdeck-old-new/#respond Thu, 03 Aug 2017 16:00:26 +0000 https://liberonet.co.uk/?p=5369 Over the last few weeks, we have successfully migrated a client over from an old eCommerce content management system called SellerDeck to a new partner platform, Shopware. We are very pleased to get this client finally moved over to a new system which will allow them to grow as a business, rather than stagnate, while…

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Over the last few weeks, we have successfully migrated a client over from an old eCommerce content management system called SellerDeck to a new partner platform, Shopware.

We are very pleased to get this client finally moved over to a new system which will allow them to grow as a business, rather than stagnate, while competitors were moving forward.

The Pains of SellerDeck

In the new world of digital commerce, it is our opinion, that SellerDeck is a bit of dinosaur. We should clarify at this point, that we only worked with an already outdated version of SellerDeck from 2014 and we did not work on the cloud platform, which we are led to believe is an option.

The client has been using SellerDeck for many years, and as a result of constant ad-hoc building, it was overly complicated and very outdated. Far behind the competition that was providing the same range of products.

Desktop Platform and Multiple Staff

One of the main pains caused by the old platform was that it was only accessible for store administration from one computer.

This was not the ideal solution for numerous staff members all wanting to check incoming orders and customer details required for the day to day running of the business.

Rigid Customisation

On this particular version of SellerDeck, it was very difficult to perform any typical customisation which would be “every day” to other platforms.

Simple tasks such as applying website tracking, amending formatting of product pages and price amendments proved to be a task that took much longer than necessary. Moving forward and driving the business to grow would be difficult and slow with such restrictions.

Customer Journey

The customer journey from landing on the website through to ordering a product is not something which could be easily manipulated through SellerDeck, although it was functional, it did not provide the immersive feel that an eCommerce store would now be expected to provide for all of their customers.

For our client, it was vital that the user be provided with as much information and support before making a purchase of one of their products, due to their high-value, customers needed to feel reassured they are making the right choice.

Shopware was a great platform to build this kind of experience as the system is built around the idea of creating a fluid and user-friendly customer journey from start to finish. 

Moving to Shopware

These, among other issues, was the reason we recommended to our client to move over to an eCommerce platform like Shopware. It provided the practicality, flexibility and immersive customer journey that the business desperately needed to stay ahead of the competition.

After a comprehensive build process, we have recently launched their new Shopware online store, which is now aesthetically pleasing and a practical improvement of their previous website, with the capability to easily manoeuvre due to business changes and growth.

The Results

After a careful migration plan, we were able to ensure that traffic was not affected as a result of the website redevelopment.

We saw an instant and positive result in online transactions and revenue.

Within a few weeks of the new website, Google Analytics has shown;

100% Increase in the “Number of Transactions”

213% Increase in “E-commerce Conversion Rate”

60% Increase in Online Revenue

As a business who take many sales offline (0ver the phone) as a result of landing on the website, we spoke to the client and he had stated that offline sales had also increased since the new website.

* In the first full month of the new website being live we are happy to report that sales for our client were the highest ever for the month.

Summary

If you are a business who have been sticking with the same online store platform for many years and you fear that changing it might be expensive or make no real difference to your revenue, then it’s time to reconsider. Online shopping behaviours and expectations are changing rapidly, keeping up with these trends and ensuring that you instil confidence in your users and fulfil their expectations as an online retailer can make a real difference in overall revenue.

Online shopping behaviours and expectations are changing rapidly, keeping up with these trends and ensuring that you instil confidence within your users and ensuring you fulfil their expectations as an online retailer can make a real difference in overall revenue.

The eCommerce platform, design, structure, customer journey and digital marketing efforts make a huge difference to the bottom line of your business. 

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The IT Hero – The Dangers of the “Do-it-All” Employee https://liberonet.co.uk/hero-dangers-employee/ https://liberonet.co.uk/hero-dangers-employee/#respond Wed, 19 Jul 2017 14:34:33 +0000 https://liberonet.co.uk/?p=5337 What is an “IT Hero”? There are many IT heroes across the country in businesses far and wide. They manage each and every aspect of IT within a business. Do you have an “IT Hero” in your office? They were supposed to be in charge of the computer network, but then one day, was asked…

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What is an “IT Hero”?

There are many IT heroes across the country in businesses far and wide. They manage each and every aspect of IT within a business. Do you have an “IT Hero” in your office?

They were supposed to be in charge of the computer network, but then one day, was asked to make a website for the business, then asked to drive traffic to the website through Google Adwords, maybe created a Facebook page and ran some Facebook Adverts.

Everything was going great, the IT Hero could do it all! Just like International Rescue. Business was going well, nothing to fear.

We hear this story a lot, from business owners or managers who didn’t have the time, confidence or skill to manage the “IT stuff” themselves. They thought they were in luck finding that one person to “do it all”. No expensive agencies. No need to recruit other staff. IT Hero to the rescue.

Today, they may be our life saver, however, what about tomorrow?

The Dark Secret of the IT Hero

Before we get to tomorrow, let’s focus on today. The truth with “IT Heroes” is, even though they seem to know “everything”, they can’t physically be good at everything! No one person can be a fantastic developer, PPC extraordinaire and SEO Supremo all at the same time. There isn’t enough time in the day for that.

How do they get away with this? They are distinctly average at everything and no one will ever question them, because no one else in the business has the knowledge to ever question them. They hide behind a mask of knowing more than you do. It’s so dastardly it’s worthy of a diabolic genius supervillain.

Therefore your business is not getting the best out of your digital streams. You are, most likely, getting a very average performance out of your website, Adwords campaigns or Social Media, depending on where their skills lie.

As a Digital Agency, we don’t rely on one individual to manage all of your business digital needs, we rely on a team, all with their own specialities, who work in unison to provide the best possible results.

The Passing of a Hero

The real problems occur when an IT Hero leaves the business. This is not something that business owners/ managers think about that much until it’s actually happening or happened, by which time it’s too late. Damage will certainly come to your business.

Perhaps it’s the intangible nature of the digital world that makes it easy to slip people’s mind. However, let this be a warning if you do have an IT Hero and you don’t have a contingency plan for their departure have one. Here are a few reasons why and questions you should be asking yourself;

If you lost your “IT Hero” tomorrow…
Do you have access to all of your business digital accounts? (Adwords, Facebook, Twitter or even Instagram)

Would you or your team be able to make minor amendments on your business website? (Price changes, blog posts or text amendments)

Do you know where your website is hosted, and the login credentials for any admin panels? If you turn to a digital agency for help, they will require these details to assist you.

 

Digital Marketing is particularly susceptible to the loss of anyone managing it. In some cases, we have spoken to business owners who didn’t even realise that the majority of their business income is dependant on Google Adwords traffic. Without management, Google Adwords will under perform, while still costing your business money. Even Organic traffic, gained by SEO work, requires constant management to ensure consistency or growth.

Do You Rely on an IT Hero?

We see ramifications of “IT Heroes” regularly, the lasting long term effect it can have on a business can take many months of rebuilding work to “steady the ship”, never mind pushing forward into growth. Moving your digital assets to a digital agency before the damage is done could be one of the most important moves a business owner can make. Leave the IT Hero to look after their own work!

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How to get Ahead in a New Age of Retail https://liberonet.co.uk/get-ahead-new-age-retail/ https://liberonet.co.uk/get-ahead-new-age-retail/#respond Tue, 27 Jun 2017 11:02:41 +0000 https://liberonet.co.uk/?p=5282 “Alexa / OK Google, buy me some AA batteries” Home Voice Assistants like Amazon Alexa or Google Home are now able to order products at a moment’s notice through a simple voice command. This is just one part of the complete game-change we’re about to see in the world of retail. Instant Drone Delivery These…

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“Alexa / OK Google, buy me some AA batteries”

Home Voice Assistants like Amazon Alexa or Google Home are now able to order products at a moment’s notice through a simple voice command. This is just one part of the complete game-change we’re about to see in the world of retail.

Instant Drone Delivery

These orders will soon be taken to an unmanned Amazon warehouse, spread across the country, and loaded onto a drone to be delivered within hours, perhaps even minutes. No more waiting for days, no more waiting in for big orders. Schedule the delivery to suit your timescale, and possibly even find you if you’re not at home. J.K. Rowling predicted the future when she described delivery owls that can find you anywhere in the world.

Branding and Traditional Advertising

Speaking recently, Scott Galloway, author of ‘The Four: How Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Google Divided and Conquered the World’, pondered on this topic on a recent podcast claiming that “Branding and traditional advertising may become obsolete” as voice search trends show that orders tend to be made for “AA Batteries” rather than branded terms such as “Duracell AA Batteries”, for example.

Artificial Intelligence

‘Big data’ makes huge differences too, as artificial intelligence will be able to use our hugely expanding digital footprint to make predictions on the products that you wish to buy. Using the sheer scale of the data available to companies like Facebook, Amazon & Google, highly accurate guesses can be made on what you might like to purchase next.

As an example, Facebook is predicted to hit 2 billion users this year.  And in the UK, 65% of people are on Facebook. When compared to traditional data collection methods, the sheer amount of information held by these big companies is immense.

What will this result in? Scott Galloway thinks “Amazon will start sending you two boxes a month, one full of products they think you want and another for you to send back the ones you don’t, which it’s artificial intelligence will learn more from”. It’s hard to think we’re so predictable, and yet when you start typing a search into Google, more often than not, it will finish the sentence correctly for you. This is the power of big data.

Beginning of the End

If you wondered what all the fuss was about when Amazon purchased the US grocery company “Whole Foods”, fit them into this picture and you can see why retailers of both foodstuffs and consumer goods are getting nervous. The process of “popping out to pick up some milk” may soon be long gone, if you can get a drone to drop some off for you instead. If Amazon can conquer one of it’s biggest problems, the cost of delivery fulfilment, this may soon be our reality.

Experience-led Retail

The age of retail will be turned on its head. Physical stores will focus more on experience than convenience, the Apple Stores across the world being a prime example of a place people hang out and immerse themselves in products rather than simply to browse and purchase.

Could it be possible that we experience more stores like IKEA? Maze-like, experience-driven showrooms. I decided to go to a nearby IKEA store recently with my partner. We didn’t specifically need anything, however, we were excited to go and see what we could find. Did we buy stuff? Yes, we did. Will we go back? Almost definitely. The cycle continues. The experience is what made us go there in the first place, and as we were there we felt obliged and enticed to buy. We even made future plans to go back.

This may sound bleak and like an interpretation of George Orwell’s 1984. However, it’s just yet another pivot in the fast-changing world of marketing and retail. The businesses that thrive are the ones which can change and adapt, understanding their customer’s need before all else.

The Solution

If you are a smaller retailer then it might be hard to provide the IKEA-like immersive retail experience. So what’s the solution?

#1 Be local. We’re seeing a massive rise in the concept of ‘local’ experience and ‘local’ business, and customers value help when finding the products they need. This is all part of a shopper’s experience, and as huge businesses use large-budget showrooms, you can use your knowledge and passion to connect in person.

#2 Be found. This local experience goes hand in hand with an online presence. The digital world has become such a fundamental part of real life that any business without a web presence is costing themselves customers.

#3 Be curious. Your customers are changing, constantly. You should always be trying to reach out and understand what they want from you, and how you can fulfil it. Don’t just ask for their ideas, think about the reason why they ask for what they do. When Henry Ford invented the car, he famously said: “If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses.”

New startups Uber, Airbnb, Netflix, Spotify and even Tinder are recent examples of game-changing innovation. They turned the traditional on its head to make something digitally convenient for their audience and users.

Is your business doing the same?

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60 Seconds of the Internet https://liberonet.co.uk/60-seconds-of-the-internet/ https://liberonet.co.uk/60-seconds-of-the-internet/#respond Wed, 14 Jun 2017 15:20:31 +0000 https://liberonet.co.uk/?p=5266 Last week, I was asked to give a 60-second speech about what I do, to a room full of business owners who had very little background knowledge on Online Marketing, other than what many salespeople had told them. This was no easy feat under any circumstances. I had to come up with something, quick, interesting…

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Last week, I was asked to give a 60-second speech about what I do, to a room full of business owners who had very little background knowledge on Online Marketing, other than what many salespeople had told them. This was no easy feat under any circumstances. I had to come up with something, quick, interesting and, hopefully, entertaining as everyone else had to do the same 60-second speech about their business too and the best speech would win a trophy. The game was on.

My idea was simple, I had sixty seconds, therefore what would happen online within that sixty seconds that I was talking to provide just however powerful an online presence for any online business is or would be.

Luckily for me, such statistic about 60 seconds of the internet was at my fingertips thanks to the guys at Smart Digital Insights excellent infographic in partnership with HubSpot.

On reflection I should have probably recorded this speech, however, I was nervous enough fitting all that I needed to say into 60 seconds (they were very strict about that) and a camera probably would of have helped the situation.

60 Seconds of the Internet in 60 Seconds Speech

My name is Tom Marriott, I’m an SEO Specialist at LiberoNet.

Since the time I started speaking to the time I’ve finished; all of the following would of happened on the internet…

150,000 eMails will be sent

500,000 Tweets will be Tweeted

700,000 people will log in to Facebook & 3.3 Million Facebook Posts will be Posted.

66,000 Pictures will be posted on Instagram and another half a million shared on SnapChat

1,500 Blog Posts will be posted

38,000 hours of music will be listened to on Spotify, in the time it takes to listen to half of the 1997 Blur hit “Song 2”.

3 Million YouTube videos will be watched & another 500 hours of video will be uploaded

3.8 million searches will be made on Google

And finally, leaving the best till last…

A Million swipes will be made on Tinder with almost zero of them resulting in any kind of serious relationship.

SEO is not, contrary to popular belief, about just making your website high up in Google. It’s about understanding where an audience can be found in an online jungle and tapping into that audience.

That is 60 Seconds of the Internet in 60 Seconds.

 

The Old View of SEO

As I was exchanging pleasantries before this speech, I was chatting away to another individual (who I shall save their blushes) who upon hearing of my job role proceeded to tell me how boring I must find it on a day to day basis, in comparison to development. I politely smiled, however, his statement only reinforced the point I was trying to make.

Finding Audiences in a Digital World

SEO or Digital Marketing is not solely about search engine ranking anymore, those days are long gone. “Keywords” are important in my line of work, however, as a metric, they are merely a very broad benchmark to rate my performance and act more as an ego building exercise. My metrics are the tangible conversion from the online world to a business, from an e-commerce purchase to a sales lead. My day is spent finding audiences wherever they may be, that will be interested in a particular business and/or product. On Google, Facebook, YouTube or even Snapchat I will spend my time using data to find them and speak to them. The possibilities are endless and by no means are they boring.

The Online Jungle

It is an online jungle, which is the picture I was trying to paint with my speech. Digital marketing is not about shouting from the digital tree tops but about building a digital billboard to be seen by the most valuable and interested people on the web.

Winner

P.S.

To those that are interested, here is me winning the trophy. Along with this trophy, I earned the nickname “Thomas the Search Engine”.

tom winning speech trophy

Victory!

 

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What Are the Limitations of Digital Freelancers? https://liberonet.co.uk/limitations-digital-freelancers/ https://liberonet.co.uk/limitations-digital-freelancers/#respond Thu, 11 May 2017 16:33:25 +0000 https://liberonet.co.uk/?p=5230 Web design, development and marketing freelancers are everywhere. If you get the right freelancer they can certainly help improve the digital arm of your business. We work with many clients who have had experience with digital freelancers, some of which have been positive, however many of which have been very negative experiences and in some…

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Web design, development and marketing freelancers are everywhere. If you get the right freelancer they can certainly help improve the digital arm of your business. We work with many clients who have had experience with digital freelancers, some of which have been positive, however many of which have been very negative experiences and in some cases, have had lasting damage to the business. It all depends on the individual freelancer and it’s difficult to see these issues arise until it’s already too late.

What are Freelancers?

Freelancers in the digital industry and individuals who take on clients and work on the digital arm of the businesses for a fee. They are great if you are a start-up business with no technology knowledge to help build and develop the beginnings of your business, and often they are a cheap option. However, we have found that over time problems can arise.

 

What are the common limitations of using a digital freelancer for your business?

Skill Set

Here at Libero Net, we have designers, developers, digital marketing, SEO, PPC and conversion optimisation specialists. Our skills set as a team is vast and our ability to work together means we can be more creative. We produce a better quality of product for our clients and have an excellent support network within ourselves.

A freelancer will tend to specialise in a field or will dabble in numerous fields. I, for instance, do not claim to be a developer, however, I have some rudimentary understanding of how web developers work. My speciality is Digital Marketing and the development team trust me to be able to carry out that work on the websites that they develop. They understand what I do and why I do it and in many cases, will use their skills set to help me to achieve a goal for a client.

An individual freelancer, by definition, will have a limited skill set and depth of knowledge, this could result in your website not achieving the full potential it could do or your digital marketing campaign not performing as optimally, as it could do.

Time Management

A freelancer will sell themselves as a “digital agency” encompassed within one person, with few overheads to worry about. They will have a few clients that they work with, usually smaller in number than many agencies. This may sound ideal for your needs as a cheaper alternative than a digital agency.

There are some downsides to this, however, a freelancer working on numerous clients will ultimately result in less time being spent on your work than an agency would. This is because a freelancer must manage his own time effectively while performing all the duties of an agency.

They will want to be taking on more clients, which is a long process of networking and proposals. If they do get a new client, the start of a project is always the most time consuming, which will usually take time out of work on your website.

We as an agency team spend all our time working with our clients within our specialties, we have a dedicated salesperson who deals with bringing in new clients and we have a dedicated project manager who deals with the time management of our team and for each of our clients, as well as being a point of contact for all clients.

 

Quality Assurance

We are aware that the quality of our work is paramount to what we achieve. We accept that mistakes occur for even the most talented individual, so our working methodologies are created in such a way that when mistakes do occur they are caught and dealt quickly and efficiently.

All of our work is passed on to another member of the team with similar skills, who will quality assure the task to check it has been done to standard. If necessary, extra testing is conducted to ensure that the final product works as it should.

As a sole freelancer, it’s difficult to achieve this level of quality assurance without fresh eyes to check the work, in these situations the quality assurance usually comes from the client, which can be a huge drain on your time.

They should, of course, be checking their own work, however, like this blog post, I could re-read it over and over and not see any errors and someone else could read it and see many (hopefully not, however*).

*Note from the Quality Assurer of this post “There were errors, it’s okay though because I found them!”

Conclusion

As I’ve already mentioned, freelancers can be effective, if you’re lucky enough to find the right one. Also, if you are employing a freelancer for one speciality, for example, PPC, then with a good relationship and management they can be very effective. This should only be done if you are lacking a skill set within your business that needs filling and they should only be utilised for that speciality. Employing different freelancers for your business for numerous specialities that a business will need would be a very expensive process.

As a digital agency, we remove the management, worry and lack of quality that a freelancer can bring and although the cost may be higher the end product and quality is higher too, which in the end means a bigger return for your business.

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How To Inspire Your Team To Work Together: Part 3 https://liberonet.co.uk/inspire-team-work-together-part-3/ https://liberonet.co.uk/inspire-team-work-together-part-3/#respond Thu, 27 Apr 2017 16:40:13 +0000 https://liberonet.co.uk/?p=5203 Last week we looked at how to improve morale through a business culture and how healthy competition can go a long way to motivating your team. This week we’re looking at how to help different departments in your business work together to solve problems. Cross-department Collaboration It can be healthy and productive to encourage different…

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Last week we looked at how to improve morale through a business culture and how healthy competition can go a long way to motivating your team.

This week we’re looking at how to help different departments in your business work together to solve problems.

Cross-department Collaboration

It can be healthy and productive to encourage different departments to work together on problems. Have you ever heard your staff complain that others don’t understand their job role, or how much they must do? Or operations staff complain that the sales team haven’t properly set the foundation with the client for what they will provide?

Encouraging collaboration between departments is a fantastic way to reduce this. Staff will learn more from each other, be more understanding of the roles other people in the business have, and how they can help each other.

It also helps avoid office ‘heroism’- where only one employee in a business or department knows how to fix a certain type of problem. Avoiding this helps protect your business’ security and reduces risk- if your hero leaves the business suddenly, where will you be?

For example, we’d recommend you discourage having an ‘IT hero’- one person who solves all IT issues. Instead, consider offering training so that many staff are able to provide this service.

An example situation

If you provide a service and your staff are split between sales & operations, encourage the two to solve challenges, or help each other with their work. Breaking this divide can lead to many benefits:

  • Increased appreciation for each other
  • A better beginning to long term relationships, when sales staff understand more about the products they sell
  • Higher client retention rates
  • Better service for clients
  • Happier staff

How to encourage departments to collaborate

Set challenges for your staff, in which they must work together. Consider your product & service, and the ways each department overlaps. If work or clients are passed between the departments, how can you integrate this process and involve both?

Here at Liberonet, we frequently create integration challenges to bring sales, marketing and development staff together. It began as a teambuilding task, but we now encourage this collaboration all the time. Everyone has great ideas, no matter their role- and we often found some of the best design suggestions coming from sales staff, marketing staff able to consider user experience and colour choices, and developers able to help with sales. Let your team be creative, and you’ll be amazed what they produce, and the new respect they’ll have for each other!

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How To Inspire Your Team To Work Together: Part 2 https://liberonet.co.uk/inspire-team-work-together-part-2/ https://liberonet.co.uk/inspire-team-work-together-part-2/#respond Thu, 20 Apr 2017 16:09:39 +0000 https://liberonet.co.uk/?p=5199 Last week we looked at of the basic principles behind inspiring your team to work cohesively and in the process to motivate them. This week we will be delving deeper into this by looking at culture, morale and healthy competition within a team. Culture and Morale Your office culture is incredibly important for a good…

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Last week we looked at of the basic principles behind inspiring your team to work cohesively and in the process to motivate them. This week we will be delving deeper into this by looking at culture, morale and healthy competition within a team.

Culture and Morale

Your office culture is incredibly important for a good working environment. Have you ever noticed any of the following situations happening?

  • Senior staff are rarely questioned or challenged on their ideas
  • Junior staff don’t speak up about their ideas
  • Different departments will be divided, physically and culturally
  • Staff don’t talk to each other unless they have to
  • Staff will prefer to do something wrong then be corrected, than raise a question before beginning
  • Staff seem demotivated or unchallenged
  • Problems arise, resulting in the need for someone to be the ‘office hero’ and save the day
  • Staff or managers will blame each other when problems happen

These are symptoms of cultural divide, and it’s this you want to reduce for your team to work better together.

Some ways you can do this are:

  • Quality assurance: Ensure you have a suitable quality assurance process in place. Individuals will naturally make mistakes, but having a quality check in place can drastically reduce the need for ‘office heroes’, and blaming each other
  • Team accountability: Ensure everyone is accountable for a problem, not just the person involved. If your team understand they are all responsible when a problem occurs, they will be much more likely to step in and help each other avoid those problems in the first place
  • Openness: Make sure your staff understand that no question or comment is silly, and that everyone is free to speak. When your juniors and shyer employees start sharing their ideas, you’ll realise how great it is to have a whole team of heads together, not just your highest paid employees!
  • Collaboration across departments: Are there problems you need to solve which cross departments? Try helping them to engage with each other using challenges, problem solving and education.

You should assess your team for these symptoms, and try different ways to make improvements.

Healthy Competition

Do you have a difficult challenge or a creative task to complete? Make it a competition! We’ve experienced great success by pairing up staff with different skills and challenging them to solve problems together.

For example, we may ask different groups of staff to create a new website homepage design. They must take into account different considerations like usability, competition and the target audience. Each group must present their ideas to everyone else, we’ll decide a winner and then combine the best of all presentations to propose to the client.

The result is a better, more thought out design for the client, and a closer and more collaborative team.

Think about the challenges you face when trying to achieve your goals, and how you can introduce some healthy competition to get great results.

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