Last year, the disruption of the COVID-19 pandemic caused a surge in eCommerce sales during the winter holiday period, particularly during Black Friday and Cyber Weekend. To prepare you for the upcoming season, we’ve put together a few tips from our SEO and eCommerce experts to get your website Cyber Monday-ready!

Prepare for mobile traffic

Any digital marketing expert will tell you that one of the most important parts of bringing customers to your online store is increasing accessibility. Most Cyber Monday purchases are made via mobile channels, so it goes without saying that unless your site is optimised for smartphone devices and can handle mobile traffic, you’ll be missing out on a huge number of potential customers. 

It’s also a good idea to run your site through a mobile compatibility test to help you diagnose any slow-loading pages so that you can make necessary changes.

Make your business stand out

With more and more eCommerce businesses cropping up over the pandemic, competition has never been fiercer. As you prepare for Cyber Weekend, take time to consider how you can catch the attention of potential customers and stand out amongst the crowd. Can you offer them an enhanced user experience or more sustainable products? Push any unique selling points forward in creative ways by using seasonal holiday messaging and dynamic, engaging copy.

Take advantage of social media

During the weeks leading up to Cyber Weekend, it’s important to utilise your company’s social media presence to its full potential. Put some time aside to create relevant content to upload regularly across all your social media platforms, including Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Engaging, entertaining and useful content such as blog posts, articles and videos are a great way of growing your following and bringing attention to any of your upcoming Cyber Weekend or Black Friday offers.

Create a dedicated landing page

Once your customers have arrived on your site, you need to make their journey as easy as possible, so it’s a good idea to create a dedicated landing page for your Cyber Weekend promotions. Holiday shopping can be stressful at the best of times, so making it easier for customers to find gifts by creating a dedicated URL and page will give them the chance to shop leisurely and enjoy their experience.

If you’re looking for a full-service digital marketing agency that you can rely on before Cyber Weekend rolls around, get in touch with Mark, Justin or Jade from Digital Next today by giving us a call on 0800 012 2461 or sending us an email at info@digitalnext.co.uk

It’s a difficult time for businesses, with many companies having to put staff on furlough and even unpaid leave. Small and independent businesses in particular are having a hard time learning to adapt to the current climate. If your business is experiencing disruption due to Covid-19, we may be able to help you.

While marketing budgets may not seem so important during the global outbreak, it’s key that you’re able to maintain some normality. It’s also important that you’re able to keep in touch with your customers during this challenging time. As so many people around the world are now at home almost 24/7, the internet has never been more instrumental in providing information and services.

However, doing this costs money and we appreciate that money probably isn’t moving as freely as it was a month ago. This is where internet giants Google and Facebook have stepped in.

Aid for small businesses

Small businesses make up a huge percentage of of the world’s economy and they truly are the backbone of many communities. With that in mind, Google and Facebook are offering help for small and medium businesses to keep workforces strong and cover operational costs.

This could be a lifeline for businesses, and even a little financial support could go a long way. In times where businesses could be facing closure and declining revenue, aid from global technology companies could provide that extra boost.

Support from Google during Covid-19

Google want to help alleviate some of the cost involved in keeping in touch with your customers through successful Google Ads campaigns. They are giving SMEs around the world $340 million in ad credits, which can be used until the end of 2020. The credits will work across Google Ads platforms including Search, Display and YouTube.

The ad credits are available to small and medium businesses who have had active accounts since the beginning of 2019, as long they advertise directly with Google or through partners. Those who are eligible may start to see a credit notification appear in their account in the coming months.

This support from Google can ensure your Google Ads strategies can continue and minimise the disruption to your business at this already difficult time.

Facebook Small Business Grants programme

Facebook for Business has launched a similar programme to ensure businesses can maintain some level of normality and keep your online presence active. Facebook has launched a Small Business Grants programme, offering $100 million in cash grants and ad credits.

This grant programme is being offered to around 30,000 eligible small businesses in over 30 countries. This could help your business with a number of aspects for your digital marketing efforts, subsidising the cost of online advertising.

The programme is still being finalised, with applications opening in the coming weeks. At a time when social media is playing a part in keeping people entertained and engaged, this could be a game changing offering for your business.

Find your digital marketing partner

At Digital Next, we can help you get the most out of your ad spend, no matter how big or small your budget might be. Our team includes experts who have previously worked at Google, which means we can provide industry expertise and offer the right advice for your business.

What’s more, we are a Google Premier Partner, which means we have official certifications and the latest product knowledge all geared towards benefitting you.

So, don’t struggle through the Covid-19 crisis alone. If you’re a small or medium business looking for some additional support to keep your digital marketing campaigns going, get in touch with us today. Our team are working from home and are ready for a chat, either over the phone or by email!

Before lock down, our CEO, Justin Blackhurst gathered several business owners into our HQ at the Sharp Project as many were keen to offer advice and help to businesses in this current climate.

Furthermore, Justin was interviewed by the Leaders Council on what leadership means to him and was on the show with legendary England International and World Cup Winner (Hatrick Hero) Sir Geoff Hurst, here is the interview in full below;

Digital Next – How is your business dealing with the Corona Virus (COVID-19) – Episode 1

In this series, Justin interviews Ross Gandy a financial industry professional, giving advice to individuals and also businesses as a starting point in these tough times.

Digital Next – How is your business dealing with the Corona Virus (COVID-19) – Episode 2

Justin Blackhurst, CEO of Digital Next invited businesses into their HQ at The Sharp Project before lockdown was issued as a directive by the government. In this video, Justin interviews Glenn William’s from Cheshire fitness on the current climate and steps he is taking for his business.

Digital Next – How is your business dealing with the Corona Virus (COVID-19) – Episode 3

In this series, Justin interviews Adam Mitcheson, CEO & Founder of My2be. Adam urges people to get agile and flexible with their business dealings during this time and utilise his software for free. While everyone is working from home during this period, Adam discusses tactics for a business continuity plan.

Digital Next – How is your business dealing with the Corona Virus (COVID-19) – Episode 4

Justin Blackhurst, CEO of Digital Next invited businesses into their HQ at The Sharp Project before lockdown was issued as a directive by the government. In this series, Justin discusses steps he is taking for his business and his clients and customers. Then urges businesses to plan a impact recovery plan and also informs people to get in touch with Digital Next to discuss and help with claim back R&D tax credits from HMRC.

Together, SEO and link building are constantly evolving and changing, and the importance of building quality links is growing more than ever before. It is essential to understand and implement high-quality campaigns in order to stay ahead of your online competitors; this has been the case for some time, and will continue into the future!

At Digital Next, we want to help you hit the ground running and make sure your online activity is moving in the right direction. Here we take a look at link building and the impact it can have on your business. So, if you’re new to this particular type of SEO strategy, we offer you a beginner’s guide to link building.

How can my business benefit from link building?

Links are a key indicator for search engine algorithms to rank listings. This means that the more links from high-quality sources there are pointing to your website, the more likely you are to improve your rankings. There are some other key benefits, however, that are worth keeping in mind.

Traffic from referrals

Rankings are often boosted through link building strategies, but you could also benefit from traffic coming from referrals. A well-placed link on a high-traffic website can result in an increase in your website traffic too. If the website is relevant to your industry, that traffic will probably be relevant too.

Michael Ellsberg, an American author, blogger and public speaker, wrote about an important distinction between putting yourself in front of a large audience, and a smaller one that is incredibly passionate about the topic in question. The point was that enthusiastic followers of a blog may be more willing to listen to a recommendation from an influencer, as opposed to an advertisement that admittedly has a bigger audience.

Nurturing relationships

Link building frequently means reaching out to blogs and websites that are relevant to your industry. Reaching out like this often involves promoting an item of content, like a blog or infographic. While the objective of outreach is to get that link, it can also enable you to build a relationship with prominent influencers in your niche. Relationships like this can boost regard and trust in your business, which can be as valuable as any backlink you get.

Building your brand

Building quality links can help grow your brand, whilst giving you an authoritative reputation for your niche. Certain link building strategies, like content creation, can demonstrate your company’s expertise. If you publish content based on industry data, you could increase your industry’s awareness of your brand as a valuable source of information. By doing outreach to acquire quality links to that content, you showcase your expertise by encouraging others in your sector to share your content and get the word out.

The importance of creating content worthy of a link

Before you attempt link building, you must ensure you have valuable content to link to. Often, this is simply your website’s homepage. It can also be specialised resources like blog posts, tools, infographics or research studies. Sometimes you will have had these assets for some time before beginning the work of link building. In other cases, you create material with the specific objective of acquiring links.

This is a good introduction to the concept of earning links and “ranking on merit”. The foundation of any good link building campaign is to have something of value that’s worthy of a link. It’s not easy to acquire links to content and pages of low value, but if you start with something that has genuine value, people will find it useful or worthy of a share. This makes link building a far simpler and more rewarding endeavour.

There has been a noticeable shift in traditional agency offerings since our entrance into the SEO market in 2009.

Since 2009, we have evolved from being an expert SEO provider into an international powerhouse agency, after acquiring other website development and marketing agencies. We then focused on headhunting some of the best talent in areas such as Google Ads and paid social, resulting in our agency now being backed by the Google Premier Partner certification, and Facebook Marketing partner accreditations.

The digital marketing industry began with a number of full-service agencies, but over the last decade, more specialist agencies who focus on one discipline have become more prevalent. This has meant it has become increasingly difficult to find full-service agencies; except when it comes to us. Digital Next offers a 360-degree style service to a range of clients who want to collaborate in order to reach their business goals.

The strength of a genuine full-service agency


As a multi-disciplinary agency, Digital Next is a real prospect for businesses who have had to go through the process of dealing with multiple specialist agencies. We aim to work in partnership with you for the long haul, so you can think of us as an extension to your own team.

You can lean on us as we offer guidance on the critical aspects of your online business. We like to offer our expertise in collaboration with you for key decision-making, strategy definition and major digital choices.  In many cases, we sit on the board of some large scale companies with CFO and CEOs taking our guidance.  Our work is fundamental to their future success, especially in this fast-evolving digital landscape.

This way of working is beginning to appeal to single service agencies, but many do not have the resource or skills to do so effectively. This is what makes Digital Next stand out, as we are able to advise and act on all areas of digital marketing.

‘Strategy’ has become the all-important concept in the digital world, and it has become core to every service we offer; that’s why you can realise your potential in working with us closely.

The service of strategy


Offering strategy as a service begins with a process of discovery. This is what kicks off a digital project like producing a marketing campaign; bringing together the major stakeholders and developing a clearly-defined plan of a project’s ultimate goals and how they will be achieved.

This process of discovery is not a new concept; in times gone by it would be merely a phase of digital projects, while today it is a standalone service in itself.

The business world has come to recognise the importance of the discovery process. It should take place before the project is launched, and it should invite everyone involved to take that full 360-degree view of strategy and business objectives.

The digital world is growing at pace, and businesses are clamouring to push for success at every available opportunity. Most board members and senior leadership don’t possess specialist digital knowledge, so they need to hire experts with the skills to guide the digital strategy and provide access to a range of digital prospects.

It doesn’t matter whether you’re a start-up needing an effective strategy to attain funding, or an international corporation needing to involve stakeholders in a planning process. In any case, a self-contained process of discovery can make all the difference. At this stage, an agency can develop a strong understanding of a business’ objectives, define realistic budgets and timelines, and ensure clients get maximum ROI on every front.

Strategy for a holistic approach with cybersecurity at the core of everything we do

Digital projects must be approached from a holistic perspective. It takes more than an impressive website to deliver a quality digital experience. Every part of a company’s digital footprint must be effective, and all must work together to achieve the best results.

By partnering with Digital Next, companies are taking a ‘Digital First’ approach. You can lean on us for advice on the latest trends and innovative improvements for your end-user experience.

This can only be achieved by inspecting all digital aspects, including:

  • Security measures
  • Hosting
  • Website Development
  • Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)
  • Social media strategy
  • Marketing campaigns using Google Ads
  • Data regulations

Only a true full-service digital agency like Digital Next can handle all of those factors, and they will be covered in a complete discovery process. We can advise on all these fronts, and more. for a truly holistic approach to your digital strategy.

10 years ago, a web design agency would have taken on a website project focused entirely on building an expensive website, with no thought for the wider digital presence. This would leave no budget for supporting activities, and in the modern market, it would fail to deliver a quality digital experience for the end-user.

When you need support in building a comprehensive digital presence, this can be achieved by partnering with an expert full-service digital agency.

Work with digital experts

Digital Next will take the time to get to know your business, and advise on building every element of your digital strategy for a fully-fledged, effective digital footprint. Get in touch today to find out more.

Every online business needs a marketing plan that will work to spread the word about its goods and services. This has never been so true as the present, especially in crowded marketplaces such as fashion, where good internet marketing will mean the difference between success and failure.

If companies are able to implement a tactical digital strategy that combines slick website development with search engine optimisation (SEO), and the use of services such as Google Ads, they should be well on their way to driving traffic, leads and ultimately sales.

In a bid to outshine competitors, however, some online businesses are turning to unethical practices to lure customers. Indeed, there is no shortage of news stories about unethical business owners paying for social media followers or paying for positive online reviews. Fake reviews have also come under fire in recent news.

Rest assured that if you engage in these practices, you will pay for it in the long run. Search engines and intelligent algorithms are becoming increasingly adept at spotting dodgy marketing schemes and sending them way down the search rankings.

So, how should you build your online business effectively and responsibly? Fortunately, we’ve put together some brief tips to get you started.

1. Choose a respected hosting platform

Choosing a hosting company for your website is almost as important as picking out a safe and comfortable office. If the door is broken and the roof is leaking, your business is doomed from the start.

Some businesses opt for free hosting services. This is usually fine for small companies that do not need to host huge amounts of information. For bigger operations, however, you are better off choosing a provider that can come up with a tailored hosting plan for your needs.

A good provider will take a number of factors into account, including website speed, security, support, IP neighbourhood, and the site’s ability to handle large amounts of traffic. In other words, solid hosting is foundational to the functionality of your site.

2. Create a strategically planned website

When designing your website, you should think strategically about how to tailor it for the needs of potential customers. This includes:

  • A descriptive homepage that informs customers of exactly what you are offering
  • A simple web address that won’t be easily mistyped
  • Clear contact information that is easy to find
  • A site map that is easy to navigate
  • Calls to action that provide clear instructions to customers
  • Genuine testimonials from former customers
  • High-quality content that is updated regularly
  • An aesthetically pleasing design with text that is easy to read

3. Remember also to optimise your site using SEO principles

SEO is one of the best ways to drive organic traffic to your site. Best of all, it is pretty much free. If you don’t have an SEO expert to hand, you should at least ensure the following:

Images are optimised

Image optimisation means adding alt tags, with descriptive and relevant keywords that help search engines figure out what kind of pictures are on your site.

Update content regularly and use keywords sparingly

Search engines love when websites are updated with fresh content on a regular basis, particularly if that content is unique and caters for a relevant demographic. You should also try to incorporate some keywords into your content. Think about what kind of phrases your target demographic will be typing into Google to find services like yours, as well as current trending topics that may be relevant.

It is important, however, not to go overboard with keywords. If you fill too much of your site with them, search engine algorithms may start to send you down the rankings.

Make sure your website works across devices

As the number of people using mobile phones to access the internet increases, you need to make sure that your website is legible and attractive across a number of devices. Sites that fail to work on certain devices will be sent down the search engine rankings.

4. Select relevant social media channels

You need to tailor your social media use according to your customer base. If you run a B2B company that deals with business professionals on a daily basis, for example, it is a good idea to put most of your energy into sites such as LinkedIn. If you’re a retailer looking to appeal to teenagers, however, sites such as Instagram are a much better option.

In the end, it is a good idea to use a number of platforms; as long as you tailor them appropriately.

If using Instagram, beware of unethical practices. Remember that an Instagram story should pass the same ethical tests as a standard advert. In other words, avoid breaching any rules set out by the advertising standards agency.

This means avoiding misogyny, racism, and encouraging dangerous practices, to name only a few things. As this recent story shows, it is all too easy for Instagram stories to be banned and ruin the reputation of a person or business.

5. Learn lessons from Google Penguin and stay on top of its updates

Google Penguin is essentially an update to Google’s ranking algorithm that takes place on a regular basis. In this way, it is important for businesses to stay on top of the changes and make sure they abide by its latest rules. Fortunately, there is information out there to help you adapt to the updates.

We all know that video is one of THE most engaging formats across Facebook and Instagram. You might think that you need to own a DSLR camera or some expensive, fancy equipment to create video content for social media but in reality, all you need is your phone and a couple of apps.

Key ways to use videos for Instagram and Facebook

1. Announcements

Videos are a great way to announce something special or drum up excitement for a new product or service. Beauty brands like Fenty Beauty often share visual content in this way on their stories and feed, to let people know about a re-stock or new product launches.

2. Tutorials

Videos are also great for sharing how-to’s and tutorials.  An example of this is Everywhere_DIY. They upload regular short videos on how to create things at home, showcasing products that people are likely to have something at home or products that are easily attainable to make it easy for viewers to re-create it.

3. GIFs

To catch the attention of your followers, an easy way to do it is by using GIFs! These are short videos that usually have 2 – 5 different frames to repeat.

These are just a few ways that business can use video on Instagram and Facebook to increase engagement and gain more followers. Of course, it’s not as easy as shooting a quick video and uploading. Instagram and Facebook are different platforms and it’s always important to optimise for each.

Types of video marketing on social media

Video is a huge part of digital marketing now, and it can be used in many different ways. You might want to consider the other types of video that can be used to market your brand on platforms like Facebook or Instagram.

Product videos

This is for the purpose of selling a product, or highlighting its benefits to your followers. It’s a great way of advertising without customers even having to visit your website. You can either showcase a new release, or upload something that shows your customers how they could get the most out of your products.

UGC videos

User-generated content can be incredibly beneficial to your brand, and by encouraging your followers to create their own video content, you’re able to up your engagement and interact with your follower base in the best possible way.

Live video

Live video is a marketing strategy in itself, but it’s worth thinking about if you’re hoping to create your brand personality and show a behind-the-scenes snippet of your company and the faces behind it!

How to optimise your videos

1. Optimise for mobile
Instagram is almost a purely mobile app and Facebook is nearly always accessed through users’ phones. So, it’s important to optimise your video for mobile.

2. Use captions to capture user’s attention
Facebook and Instagram are designed to allow users to watch videos without sound. In fact, 85% of Facebook videos are watched without sound, so it’s important to include captions or text if you’re posting to Facebook.

Earlier this week, I attended an event at Facebook’s London HQ. Perform 2019 is aimed at illuminating the world of digital natives and showcasing how they see, think and operate. Discovering how advertisers are using performance marketing tactics in order to build global brands, Facebook often look towards digital natives for inspiration; a specific group of companies who display disruptive and fast-growing characteristics.

Created at a time of relentless innovation and optimism, digital natives operate on Facebook in a unique and powerful way. These companies are building on traditional principles of performance marketing, operating at staggering scale and sophistication to compete with, and in some cases eclipse, more well-established companies.

Facebook looks to companies like these to help describe how to get the most out of the platform and where other companies can learn to thrive further.

At the Perform Conference this year, the chosen keynote speaker was none other than Dame Kelly Holmes, alongside a whole host of guest speakers. They included Kelly McConville; Head of Content and Social at Uber and Aida Bejgane; Head of Paid Acquisition at Starling Bank.

Also speaking at the event were various members of Facebook itself, including the Global Performance Agency Lead, Regional Director, Marketing Science Agency Lead, Head of Creative Shop and Global Product Marketing Lead.

So, what did Digital Next learn from attending the event?

Key takeaways from the Facebook Perform Conference

Kelly McConville of Uber discussed the huge importance of content; as a brand, Uber produces content based around their audiences in over 500 different locations, tailoring it based on behaviours and key indicators within their data. For example, they discovered that men in France are far less safety-conscious than men in the UK. With that in mind, they are able to tailor their ads to suit that attitude; in the UK, Uber releases ads that talk about getting your partner home safe, whereas in France they take a different route.

Rob Kiely from Facebook emphasised that brand marketing is a crucial part of any digital strategy. He talked about a Star Wars ad being split-tested; one ad displaying a well-produced, animated film, with the other displaying a fluffy cat flying through the hair. Surprisingly, both ads converted at the same rate. This is because of the brand strength Star Wars has built over the years, highlighting the importance of having a solid brand identity.

Starling Bank carry out their marketing according to audience too. They produce completely separate ads for different demographics, like students and the older generation. It might sound simple and obvious, but it’s still an incredibly clever way to target your various audiences.

Each guest speaker touched on something incredibly logical and crucial to achieving success online. An interesting concept of considering your audience’s state of mind was introduced. For example, pre-9am, most people will be fairly relaxed; either getting ready for work, making breakfast or checking their social media feeds. However, by 2pm, your audience may be in a very different mood; most will be in full-work mode. Every ad you put out needs to work to suit human behaviour, including the time of day and state of mind of your target audience.

With this in mind, it’s imperative that you build a team around you based on performance; not just a team for the sake of having staff. Good results in performance marketing come from having a winning team, which produces a positive trend within your environment. Companies that build multiple content assets and then measure, test and learn from them are the ones that grow faster; so focus on your team’s ability to be able to do this.

Image-1

Facebook released a few interesting insights on the day; lift optimisation is a feature that’s coming soon, so keep your eyes peeled! It also raised the point that brick and mortar businesses can still gain from Facebook. They can match data on Facebook by seeing which ads get people through their doors. This could be a hugely important aspect of Facebook for businesses that don’t necessarily operate online.

What was particularly fascinating was the list of the only surviving companies from the Fortune 500 list since 1955. This could be partly put down to creative development and keeping up with the ever-changing trends in the digital world. The list includes ATT, Boeing, Coca-Cola, DuPont, General Motors, IBM, Kellogg, Procter & Gamble and Whirlpool.

The highlight of the day had to be listening to Dame Kelly Holmes. It was an amazing experience to see Kelly speak about her career and all her success, including the setbacks she’s had along the way. She talked about her team, who supported her along the way from physio, right through her running partners who gave up their time during their prime to help her achieve gold. She really is an inspiration to the country, and it was incredible to hear her talk about selfless commitment.

When was the last time you were selfless for someone in your team, or for the greater good?

This post has been updated for 2019.

Responsive web design has dominated websites for the past few years, transforming the way businesses build their online presence. A website with responsive web design is a site that is able to adapt the screen it is being used on, regardless of what device it is. The website automatically reformats to give the user a better experience, that is well suited to their device, and can give your site a number of benefits as well as being in line with Google recommendations.

Responsive web design was introduced back in 2010 and recommended from 2015 onwards, but there have been many other updates to web design since that are also of great importance.

The need for responsive web design

In the past few years, the use of smartphones has grown rapidly. In 2014, only 22% turned to their phone first to browse the internet. Only 2/3rds of people even owned a smartphone. Since then, the roll-out of 4G internet and other innovations impacted the way people used mobile devices; throughout 2014, 4G subscriptions skyrocketed from 2.7 million to 23.6 million.

By the end of 2016, mobile web usage had overtaken desktop for the first time, which just goes to show how many people browse on smartphones and tablets instead of a laptop or desktop computer. This highlighted a dramatic shift in behaviour; with the UK using their mobile devices to shop online, carry out online banking and scroll through social media. Ofcom reported at the time, that 7 in 10 adults use a smartphone, with over-65s now more likely to use one too, as the public becomes even more tech-savvy.

For these reasons alone, it became hugely important to invest in responsive web design ; your business needs a website that works well on a smartphone or other mobile device screens, due to the sheer amount of people who could be using your website through a smartphone or tablet.

Google’s recommendations

Google introduced recommendations in 2015 that related to responsive web design, and began rewarding sites that were fully optimised for mobile platforms. Google began using mobile friendliness as a ranking signal in search results. Businesses began to take note of its importance since that announcement, but now Google has moved on to even bigger heights.

More recently, Google has gone a step further and has been implementing mobile-first indexing strategies. Mobile-first indexing bases ranking and indexing from the mobile version of a site, as opposed to the desktop version. If you already have a responsive web design, then you won’t need to modify your websites. This is the most recent effort by Google to further improve mobile web experience.

As of 2018, Google announced that they were migrating sites that followed best practice in mobile-first indexing. In the past, Google crawled and indexed the desktop version of a website, but they began to notice that this caused problems for mobile users. Mobile-first indexing means that Google now primarily crawl, index and rank the mobile version of the website. Due to this, it’s more important than ever that you not only have a responsive web design, but also a solid mobile design of your website too.

Benefits and importance of responsive web design

With responsive web design, all content and pages are flexible across all screen resolutions and devices. Whether you’re viewing a website on your smartphone or a laptop, it will be unified and easy to navigate despite the differing screen sizes. Providing an optimal experience for the user across the board, responsive web design means your user can read and navigate the site with minimum resizing and scrolling.

Responsive web design can improve user experience which will translate into a positive perception of your brand and business. If your customer can access your website easily on all platforms, they’re more likely to return to you for more business in the future and it more than likely means a higher conversion rate for your website. In a world where so much traffic comes from mobile devices, it’s important that you’re accommodating this factor through your website.

Responsive web design, and mobile-first indexing, is now also important as a ranking factor, as mentioned earlier. Sites that are responsive will generally load faster which is likely to boost your ranking and decrease your bounce rate. Responsive web design can also make social sharing easier, helping you to grow a bigger audience for your brand.

SEO campaigns and website maintenance are also a much smoother process with a mobile friendly website. Responsive web design means you only have 1 website to look after; it’s also quicker and less expensive than making a stand-alone mobile application in addition to your desktop website.

With mobile-friendly websites now being an industry standard, especially thanks to mobile-first indexing, take a minute to ensure your web design is the best it can be.

Get in touch with us today to find out more about making sure your website design is spot on!

Continual growth continues in both fund-backed and private equity businesses seeking Digital Next’s services.

A continual barrier to growth encountered by many businesses is the ability to unlock the cash flow necessary to expand steadily and consistently, we see many great companies wanting to grow online and with the required capital to do so but needing the right partner or advice.

An important way to establish business growth is to find the right talent. This is particularly applicable when it comes to finding properly qualified and highly experienced employees – especially those with technological skills. At Digital Next we bridge that gap; we can help you find the talent, or we can partner closely with you and build the strategy, project scope and carry out implementation even on the most difficult complex online projects.

We know talent, however, comes at a price. Many digital technology and marketing businesses are reporting that potential candidates want salaries far in excess of what they’re able to pay. In certain areas, there’s such a small supply of appropriately qualified technicians that they’re essentially able to charge anything they please; fortunately we have the contacts and also the necessary skills in-house to work with you on whatever your online digital strategy requires.

Divergent requirements for tech-specialists

Money isn’t all that matters. The very best technicians are constantly seeking to improve their skills – they want to work with the newest technology in the widest possible range of applications. Whether it’s SEO software or the latest implementation of Google Ads technology, through to brand new marketing and accounting software. Gifted technicians require newer technology to work with than many firms are able to provide we have built the platform and necessary ability to be able to work with you in or out of the office or at a distance if required.  Through modern methods which we have developed and the closeness you will feel working with us as a digital partner are what is desired in every area of business in the UK and internationally.

Mark Blackhurst, COO of Digital Next, explained “There is a clear shortage of skills within the UK technology industry the fight is on for the talent. With technological skills being the backbone of nearly all industries, we took the decision to build an extremely strong technological skill base and have everything needed to make your online project a success at a distance or in house”.

“We know a private equity firm’s very nature is to facilitate the growth of business that’s where we are top of our game in facilitating this growth. Investment is not enough if the people with the appropriate skills are still unavailable to be hired – ultimately business growth is still stifled, fortunately we have this covered and now deal with blue chip and exponentially growing companies all over the world.”

How Digital Next makes a difference

On the last five years there has been a marked growth in the number of fund-backed and private equity firms coming to Digital Next for help, advice, and encouragement over the last few years. The results are achieved by allowing companies to make the very most of their available budgets, thanks to the many years of experience we have gained we are here to achieve your aspirations.

At Digital Next, sophisticated, multi-channel solutions are developed and then seamlessly integrated either directly, or through collaboration with the business’ internal teams.

Mark continued, “talent is where the bottlenecks are for businesses. Technology that allows them to facilitate growth of market share – such as SEO management and marketing – is readily available. Private equity firms need to be able to attract, employ, and retain the top-tier technological talent in order to achieve their investment goals. The ability to quickly scale talent in line with business demand is also essential.”

Our job is to give consistent attention to improving the way these businesses serve their clients and handle sales of which is a key component of the service. So too is ensuring their marketing systems are making use of the latest SEO expertise, and benefit from a key understanding of Google Ads.

Mark concluded, “we continue to work alongside a large number of key private equity and fund-backed businesses, so we’ve developed an innate understanding of the struggles they are currently experiencing. This has allowed us to trim and tailor our service going forward to ensure we’re doing everything possible to achieve their goals in the best possible time. It will always be a core feature of our business model to pool our experience and expertise with that of our clients. This allows us to work together to craft and achieve meaningful and achievable solutions.”

award winning digital agency

To find out more about how our services could help you, get in touch today.

Digital transformation is a revolutionary journey that begins by thinking about users, customers and employees in a digital sense, taking into account a shift in culture that must overcome resistance to change. For many years, we have realised the prevailing wind that drives digital transformation is opportunity, and it is that which is up for grabs for businesses that can compete fastest.

Through the incorporation and implementation of new technologies, processes can be streamlined to get improved results and gain more insight into what really makes your business tick.

We have seen first hand that the expectations of the average customer have evolved dramatically within the ever-expanding world of the digital. For instance, people want, and expect, consistently fast delivery more than ever before. Many organisations fall short of these lofty customer demands, so the delivery of a digital strategy that meets the demands of modern markets will give you a competitive edge. Over many years we have worked with a huge number companies to deliver these transformations.

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An Innovative Approach

The development of great software, websites and top of the range online marketing is only one piece of the puzzle, but it is one we are experts in.

We work with our partners and clients through their online journey, moving through critical in-depth processes of planning and discovery. It is of paramount importance that we incorporate customer engagement and the defined user journey, so as to make their web experience of hosting, cyber security, website or platform and marketing seamless. This way we ensure maximum commercial effect.

Whether you’ve already started on a road towards digital transformation or you’re looking for help getting started, we have all the skills and experience you’ll need in-house here at Digital Next – think of us as an extension of your team.

Enhancing Your Capabilities

At Digital Next, we have an ongoing policy of analysing the journeys of our clients in order to identify specific things we can do to improve your online offering. We want to improve and optimise your operations so that you can maintain a competitive advantage. Digitisation is the single most important aspect of any organisation’s future, no matter what sector you are in or how long you’ve been in business. This means doing improving SEO strategy and implementation to rank highly in Google search results and other search engines.

We specialise in advising our clients on the best online route to market and combining it with the best professionals and marketing capabilities in the Industry. Over the years, hundreds of top level organisations have leveraged our expertise to find their unique way through the journey of digital transformation.

Technical Expertise with Offices in the UK, UAE and Melbourne Australia

The organisation of our teams revolves around hiring the best project planners, developers and best marketing professionals in the Industry and on an International scale. We are Google Premier Partners, and we are specialists on the creation of effective Google Ads and improving your SEO. This is where we started as a business, and it still runs through our veins.

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Please take a moment to view our industry pages for a detailed summary of our technical capabilities. If you are looking for something very specific that isn’t mentioned, please contact us and let us know. Ours is an industry that changes at breakneck speed, and we may have added more capabilities to our roster that aren’t listed yet.

We are living in a time of both political and economic uncertainty in the UK, as the fall out from the Brexit vote continues. However, Brits should remember that the country has overcome worse problems in the past, and should be able to weather the storm. Despite Brexit, there remains a lot to stay positive about; we see it on a daily basis with our clients who are continuing to thrive despite the uncertainty ahead.

Just within our own sector, we have seen that businesses are already responding in kind to the ‘sticky situation’ which the Brexit aftermath presents for those with international commercial interests. In the rapidly evolving digital world, we have seen many business owners make great strides. It all goes to show that with Brexit, we are where we are; those who react to the disruption the fastest, and are willing to use innovation and look ahead and digitally in order to make a difference, are likely to be among the firms which come out of the other side stronger.

doing business after brexit

How can we spot a ‘Brexit-proof’ business?

Among our clients, we are good at spotting those who are primed for a challenging business landscape. There are generally three factors which demonstrate this to us. The first is good owners; ones with the foresight to look at the bigger picture, and understand the cyclical nature of business. These are the type of leaders who can navigate through the tough times, while looking ahead to the better times. The second factor is the product or service itself. If what is being offered is quality, unique and delivers value, it is in better shape for the long haul.

Making a splash

The third important factor we are able to spot might be the most important because, without it, the first two factors can prove ineffective. This is the ability to use innovation and find the ideal route to market. That, of course, is our job here at Digital Next, and we have now helped thousands of companies to do this.

Before coming to us, these companies often struggled to realise the full potential of their online marketplace. They hadn’t been reaping the benefits of strategies such as SEO, Google Ads and social media, and because of this had not achieved the differentiation of their product from a rival or competitor.

In the face of Brexit, being able to continue to sell both in the UK and abroad is a crucial achievement, and it’s something that we have helped our clients to do time and time again. What’s more, it’s how we’ve grown our own business to international level, operating in Australia and the UAE as well as the UK.

It’s great to be recognised

Over the past few years, it has been very gratifying to see the work of our team recognised with esteemed awards from the Northern Tech awards, in which we came 63rdout of the top 100 fastest growing tech companies. We also gained Google Premier Partner status, which is a testament to the quality of our Google teams.

This week we are thrilled to have been shortlisted for the  2019 International and Family Business of the Year award. This is not only a testament to our performance in the UK, but also in the UAE and Australia. Of course, we see the most important successes as being achieved by our clients, and believe that this is the barometer by which our team should be judged.

So when you can work with a team which combines some of the best skilled and commercial minds in the North West, who are proven to be adept campaign operators, Brexit needn’t be so bad!

What else have we been up to?

  • 2 of our fashion clients were nominated for awards for their website and digital marketing campaigns, relating to our social media work that has exponentially grown their brands
  • Business acquisitions
  • Recruitment of more Industry leading staff who have joined us from Google
  • Australian office landmark £1m turnover and staff growth
  • National recognition in our working partnership with EE.
  • Celebrating 5 years as a founder member of the Sharp Project which was a local government and European funded digital initiative. It was voted as one of the best spaces in the UK to work.
  • Facebook Marketing Partner status
  • Google Premier Partner
  • Organised thought leadership conferences and meet ups on emerging topics such as blockchain, cryptocurrency and cyber security
  • Digital Next in the community – built and launched an innovative, pro bono website for Wilmslow High School’s Business Partner Programme

Working with the publisher Bloomsbury

We also want to say a big thank you to Andy Hill and Helen Wong of the fantastic publisher Bloomsbury Professional PLC, who approached us in the last year to feature in two books; Doing Business After Brexit, and Cyber Security.

We contributed to one of the leading books on Brexit, trying to uncover the world of digital opportunity and encourage business owners and brands to look ahead and transform their company. Our experience has taught us that to succeed in future innovation, use of technology and great marketing practice will pay dividends. We don’t focus on the negatives of Brexit, instead viewing it as a time to review the position of your business right now and where to go next.                  

In the fascinating Cyber Security book, we contributed a chapter titled “The Digital Next Way.” In this, we underline that good, all-round digital practice is key. We show how we bring not only great marketing skills to the fore, but also that cyber security underpins every step in working with us at Digital Next; that is a great difference between us and the majority of other agencies.

We take careful measures and thought leadership to ensure our clients are not exploited, controlled or irreparably damaged. When you make serious investment into your website with a new build or further development, and are using marketing campaigns such as Google Ads, Facebook or other social media, we are there to guide and protect your investment.

So, to kickstart your online success even in the face of Brexit, get in touch today.

Over the course of my time with Digital Next, there has been a lot of talk about Black Friday. It has become apparent just how important it is for businesses to prepare for the event. With Digital Next already discussing the many ways in which businesses can benefit from this, it just goes to show that preparation should be well underway.

– Ella Worthington BA (Hons)

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On 23rd November, Black Friday will hit the stores once again. With preparation for the biggest shopping event of the year in full swing, it is important for your business to have a digital marketing strategy put in place.

 

WHAT IS BLACK FRIDAY?

Over the years, Black Friday has become one of the biggest shopping events of the year. Although it originated in the US, the UK have caught on with most UK retailers now taking part. During this time period, retailers offer huge discounts on a wide variety of products in order to persuade consumers to spend as much money as they can.

Each year this shopping-fest seems to get bigger and bigger with consumers spending incredible amounts of money. After all, everyone loves a bargain.

 
As a consequence of this, the UK event has become increasingly focused around the online, making it easier for consumers to compare prices and products in the comfort of their own home. We can see this as internet sales now account for 17% of the retail sector.

 

WHY YOU NEED TO PREPARE

It’s more important than ever for businesses to prepare themselves as online shopping plays a huge role in Black Friday’s mania, with a whopping £1.4 billion being spent in 2017. Large retailers have admitted to preparing up to 12 months in advance.

Black Friday Preparation

As a consequence of this, Black Friday can leave a lasting effect on a business throughout the rest of the year. When a customer visits an online site and has a positive experience, they are likely to return, increasing a business’s audience. This just goes to show how it’s essential for businesses to approach Black Friday with a well thought-out strategy, which takes months of planning and organising.

Retailers see Black Friday as a critical chance to boost their market share, as we see many shops gaining their biggest profits of the year during Black Friday. This just goes to show that as there is so much online traffic throughout this time period, businesses need to make the most out of it.

Here are a few of the many ways in which we can help you prepare for Black Friday:

 

WEB DESIGN AND EXPERIENCE

Having a site that is reliable and easy to use is a major factor to look at due to the influx of traffic on Black Friday. When it was first popularised, websites crashed under the weight of the traffic as consumers rushed to bag the best deals possible. Having the preparation in place means that your website won’t be crashing, thus not losing any business.

There has been a shift recently as mobile devices were used to make 36% of online sales last year, generating more than a billion pounds. Therefore, mobile user experience is just as important as web user experience.

 

EMAIL MARKETING

Although consumers are constantly bombarded with emails from retailers persuading them to take advantage of their latest promotions, Black Friday is a time where they are paying close attention to the sales being sent directly to their inbox. As email drove 18.1% of online sales last year, email marketing is one of the key components to getting the word out there.

black friday sale

 

SOCIAL MEDIA

Social media is one of the biggest driving forces for Black Friday offers. It is important in building hype leading up to Black Friday, giving social media followers a glimpse of the upcoming sales. This encourages consumers to plan their shopping strategy whilst putting your business at the top of their list.

black friday social media

It is important to utilise all social media platforms when thinking about Black Friday as this allows businesses to reach a larger number of audiences.

 

SUMMARY

Black Friday 2018 is right around the corner, so why not save yourself the stress and start preparing now. If you think our services may be useful for you and your business, get in touch today.

 

After graduating from Nottingham Trent University, I thought it would be important to gain some work experience in a field of interest. So, before starting my Master’s degree in PR, I turned to Digital Next. As Digital Next are recognised as a Top 100 Fastest Growing Technology Company, I thought this would be a great place to start. Social media and content creating has always been one of my main interests.

– Ella Worthington BA (Hons)

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After focusing my dissertation around the impact that Instagram can have on an individual, the role of social media influencers never fails to amaze me.

More than ever, social media influencers are a crucial component to influencer marketing as there are currently 2.6 billion active social media users. They aim to shape audience attitudes through a range of platforms such as blogs, YouTube and Instagram.

WHO ARE THE SOCIAL MEDIA INFLUENCERS?

Social media influencers are everyday people like you and me, they just post about their passions for the world to read. As a consequence of this, influencers gain vast internet popularity. For example Zoella, a YouTube sensation, has over 12 million YouTube subscribers. It’s not surprising that they are considered the perfect marketing tool.

zoella social media influencer

Incase you missed just how popular social media influencers have become, a recent study found that the term ‘influencer marketing’ increased by 325% in Google searches over 2017. This is likely to continue as two-thirds of marketing departments are aiming to increase their influencer marketing budget.

This allows for social media influencers to help drive engagement, as well as gaining influence and followers to a brand or organisation.

DOES IT REALLY WORK?

Still not convinced? Well, a recent survey found that 72% of respondents have made a fashion, style or beauty purchase after seeing something on Instagram. An article in Forbes also stated MuseFind found that 92% of consumers trust an influencer more than a traditional celebrity endorsement.

Not only this, but in 2017 sponsored Instagram posts generated 1 billion likes. This just goes to show that they must be doing something right.

inthefrow feel unique partnership

As a result of all this, if you find the right influencer for your brand, they will drive more traffic to your site which will lead to more engagement and a better SEO ranking in the long run.

FINDING THE RIGHT INFLUENCER

There are only a few thing to consider before reaching out to a potential social media influencer:

  • Find an influencer that is sharing content and has an audience that is similar to your brand or organisation.
  • Check whether their profile is engaging enough. Have a look at their followers and comments, however, it is quality over quantity.
  • Build a relationship with the influencer and work together. Give instructions but also leave room for creativity.

Summary

It is clear to see that social media influencers play a huge role in influencer marketing today. There is no better time to find out whether this is what your brand or organisation needs in order to reach its next steps. If you think this might be helpful for your brand or organisation, why not get in touch.

Are you hoping to use Instagram Stories to attract higher engagement with your followers? Do you want to up your game when it comes to uploading entertaining snapshots of your brand? Here we let you in on a few secrets that will help you share your business with the world of Instagram; from visual text to making magic happen.

So, get your Instagram account ready and dive into some of these not-so-secret hacks for your business.

Creating the perfect colour match

 

Ditch the default colour tray currently available on Instagram Stories and instead, find the exact shade to tell your story in the most visual way, whether it’s your brand colours or something completely unique to your followers. To achieve this, use the eyedropper tool to match a colour that is already in your video or picture, and then use it to type to your heart’s content.

 

 

Rainbows make it better

 

You might think turning your Instagram Stories’ text into a rainbow takes a lot of effort, using different colours to change each letter; luckily for you, this isn’t the case. To impress your followers with a visually appealing gradient rainbow text, first select all the text. Then, use one finger to tap and hold down any colour on the palette, then another finger to tap and hold the blue text selector line.

Thankfully it’s not making each letter a different colour!

 

 

Colour in your background

 

Are you looking for a block colour for the background of your story, but don’t want to use the brush to fill it in manually? You don’t have to!

To access a full-screen colour effect, choose a colour then hold you finger down on the screen; after a couple of seconds, it should make the whole screen your chosen colour. For an extra tip; the marker brush will give you an opaque colour, while the chisel tip marker will provide a semi-transparent effect, depending on what you’re hoping to achieve.

You can use this trick if you just want a Instagram Story of text, or combine it with the eraser tool to reveal a hidden message over a series of frames.

 

 

Pictures that move

 

You can now use your Live Photos on your Instagram Story, so if you’ve not had much use for them so far, now is your chance. Turn your Live Photos into a Boomerang simply by uploading the photo to your story, and hold it down. This will bring your picture to life, and they usually turn out better than the Boomerangs you try to plan down to the last movement.

 

So, next time you’re stuck for creative ways to use your Instagram Story, remember these handy tips to make your account stand out a little more from the rest!