Here's our end of month review for October...
I simply cannot believe it’s time to write another month end review, I am sure I’ve only blinked once since the last one! It’s quite scary actually and that’s nothing to do with our Halloween theme!
October has been another busy one with some great new campaigns and some just about to launch. Halloween is proving to be ever more popular year on year with sales of Halloween related products surpassing £320m in 2017, up 35% year on year. It’s something retail brands can’t afford to ignore and most interestingly it’s the adults who get most involved (vicariously living through their children mayhaps) and impulse sales are highest from 27-36 year olds. If that’s your market then maybe next year a Halloween related product is the way forward. We will be checking out the Simpson’s Halloween episode for ideas for next years keywords…..kudos Batt Groening!
Saying that it’s not just Halloween that throws up a surge in seasonal or event related searches, as this is just the tiny ripple that soon becomes the tidal wave that is Christmas. Black Friday, Cyber Monday, Small Business Saturday, Free Shipping Day and of course the FOMO ads that tell you when the last day to order is for the big day itself. And whilst you are tucking into your turkey the boxing day sales are already rolling out. With mobiles and tablets being amongst the most popular gifts there’s no wonder people zone out and spend big again (last year £1bn was spent on the one day where shops are shut everywhere which kind of suggests the Christmas Day TV schedule is getting worse).
I can’t believe it’s the end of September already. Wait, no, it’s the end of October. It doesn’t seem two minutes since our last end of month review.
Probably because I spent the first week of the month on holiday in Spain, my favourite country to visit as the weather is always spot on, the food is amazing and you can’t beat a pint of Estrella in a frozen tankard. Thanks to a client who allowed us to rent their holiday home we visited many places on the Spanish coast including Valencia, Calpe, Denia and Javea.
I’m talking about a holiday and it’s 4 degrees outside… enough reminiscing and back to reality. It’s getting dark now at 6pm which means the workload is in full flow as clients finalise their Halloween and Bonfire promotions before going full steam ahead with their Black Friday and Christmas campaigns, while others start to discuss their plans for the new year with us.
In terms of project work October has been a total mix of websites and bespoke systems. We’ve recently completed a booking system which takes our client’s customer data online, backing it up regularly with full employee accountability to improve their internal communication and help them track bookings much easier – wherever they are in the country. And last but definitely not least the new system drastically reduces the amount of paper the business was using. We like to make small differences like that where possible.
It’s great to see our work being used effectively to save people time, whether it’s an easy-to-use website or bespoke system which makes somebody’s job easier, it’s great to see the difference that Twilo is making to other businesses.
Joke of the Month
A ham sandwich walks into a bar and orders a beer, bartender says “sorry, we don’t serve food in here”.
Between these two websites I’ve also been working on an interesting project to introduce an online booking system for flyingeese.co.uk. The main aim here was to build a system that allowed online bookings and deposit payments, with a strong focus on creating a simple and smooth booking process.
Whether you are signing up for a website or checking out your latest purchases, the online form is something we all love to hate, so injecting a bit of fun isn’t straight forward. I enjoyed this challenge, as it involved a lot of thought about the user, and working out how to make it an exceptional experience for them.
I think in the end we built a great solution which balances some interesting design elements with usability, now we just have to wait and see if our hard work pays off in the all important conversion rates.
October is my favourite month of the year, not only is it my birthday month, but it means I can start counting down to the festive celebrations. It’s been another great month at Twilo, I have started posting daily statuses of links sent to me from the team, this gives me more of an insight into what they do and I enjoy reading all of them.
I have started writing more blog posts for some of our clients to interest their customers, especially because Halloween and Bonfire Night are so close. I thought it would be a good idea to show some recipes, adding my own twist, and see if the client’s customers engage with it and read it.
I have delved into Twilo’s social media analytics and realised that Twitter is the more appropriate place for more business based content. Facebook’s content needs to be lighter hearted and fun, not large chunks of information that clients and followers won’t understand.
I am excited to be learning more about Photoshop and hopefully being able to start designing my own social media images, along with learning more about SEO and AdWords.
Photo of the Month
This month I have been learning how to use xml and css data feeds in conjunction with Web Scraping to import, and to keep up to date, a products library. This has been a huge learning curve for me as this was my first time working on anything like this.
To start a feed is just a list of formatted data that can be converted from a file into memory and then processed into something useful, take a product feed for example, this feed would consist of a list of product data: Model Number, Name, Description, Price, Associated Images. We can use languages like PHP to look at this data and transfer it from the feed into a CMS like OpenCart to import and update any products on the OpenCart install. As we have an intermediary step between the feed and the Database we can change some values, for example we could increase the price of products by a set amount or by a percentage, or we could format the name to look more aesthetically pleasing. Using this technique we can almost full automate the product stock management and pricing without any human input, apart from the initial pricing calculations and rules.
Simon likes to make fires, here's what he's burnt this month...
An old kitchen donated by one of Wayne’s friends.
A weeping willow tree blown down by the recent winds.
And to end, here's something cool we've seen this month...
One of our contingent visited Bradford Film & Photography Museum at the weekend to see the Life Online Exhibition.
The exhibition was great and well worth the visit and and then he discovered The Games Lounge. It’s only 10p for some old school games and the rest are free. Try your hand at Pong and we challenge you to get a rally going of more than three shots!