Friday, 22 December 2017

We're excited about the prospects Digital Marketing offers in 2018... are you?

Each year the modern consumer is instinctively relying on an engaging digital experience when researching to make purchases or become more informed.

Search engines such as Google continue to be the most popular channel for people to find and be decisive about the information they need. A study by Blue Nile Research shows that 79 - 82% of consumers use search, brand websites and customer reviews to make their decisions, whereas 14 - 25% use social, mobile and blogs to discover new products and brands.

If you don't engage in digital marketing, you will be missing out on the opportunity of reaching out to those looking for your services. Additionally to reaching out and attracting new clients, digital marketing provides you with accurate and detailed tracking reports. This enables you to see what is working and not working for your brand, track ROI and continually monitor to improve the success of your campaign based on these findings.

Digital Marketing allows a business to display their service or product to the entire world or a very specific group of people. This specific targeting can be defined with age, gender, location, interests and more. With real time reactions and responses your business will be able to significantly increase reach and awareness resulting in sales.

We will involve you in the campaign, reporting to you all activity and results following a campaign, it's our responsibility to make you successful.

"But I find that for myself, without exception, the more I deal with the work as something that is my own, as something that is personal, the more successful it is." Marian Bantjes

In 2018 Swimming Hippo will continue to expand our digital marketing services from campaign strategy to delivery of email marketing, social media advertising, AdWords management and Search Engine Optimisation.

New Content Writing Services

A key aspect of any good digital marketing campaign is the production of great content.

We have found that often clients find content generation a challenging part of their web development project.

Having recognised this potential barrier our clients may experience, Swimming Hippo have decided to team up with Matt Wheeler of Fire Starter Marketing to provide this service. With Matt's professional business experience and his background in developing marketing strategy's, your website content will better communicate all objectives set to measure the success of your project.

New Branding for 2018

We are excited! Swimming Hippo is developing a new brand to be launched early 2018. A logo is underway and a brand new website is to follow displaying our full service offering, work produced and the results of campaigns we have implemented.

If you have a digital marketing project in mind for 2018, call 01386 764747 or email

Monday, 21 August 2017

Swimming Hippo sets BK Grain online for another 35 years’ success

In 2016, BK Grain Handling Engineers celebrated 35 successful years supporting British agriculture. They do this with services ranging from fabrication to turnkey design and build of massive agricultural facilities -- they'd even achieved a Royal Warrant. Despite their success in agri-engineering, BK now faced the challenge of promoting its services to new markets. That's when they hired Matt Wheeler and Firestarter Marketing Services to help with strategy and marketing, and through them, digital agency Swimming Hippo...
BK sales director, Simon Bird sets the scene: 'We knew Matt and Firestarter, and trusted his choice of web design and development partner -- Swimming Hippo. Together, they've transformed our online presence.'

Since 1981, BK had built an enviable reputation for agricultural-engineering on structures across the UK. Historically, business came via word of mouth, without needing a sophisticated website or other technology.

We had a basic, inadequate, old website The Wiltshire based agri-engineers had an old website, but they admit that it was a very basic static brochure site. And it was inadequate for the next phase of the BK success story. Simon Bird again: 'It focused on grain handling and didn't promote our other highly-marketable services. They're perfect for wider industrial application and include planning, project management, fabrication, Design & Build, NEBOSH Health & Safety, electrical installation and servicing. We do complete million-pound agriengineering projects for some of agriculture's most demanding customers.'

Firestarter and Swimming Hippo's challenge was to help BK promote these services to new audiences that wouldn't instinctively look to 'agri-engineers'. And reduce the seasonality of BK's business.

The web development challenge

The existing brochure site was unsophisticated. It had limited functionality and a message that didn't reflect BK's new strategy. On Firestarter's recommendation, BK entrusted Swimming Hippo with completely redeveloping the site. It was a complete makeover, using responsive site architecture, new images, new copy, BK's excellent customer testimonials and an easy-to-use content management system (CMS). Swimming Hippo's Joe Hirst explains: 'A key part of the brief was to quickly and clearly demonstrate BK's range of services. And to optimise the site for organic web search when prospects in targeted sectors seek BK's services.'

BK built its business on agri-engineering. Projects range from minor fabrication to turnkey projects valued at more than £1m. The jobs are often for massive grain handling facilities, such as Chipping Norton's Great Taw Estate or at the royal Windsor estate. Showcasing a portfolio of projects, the transferable services associated with them, and combining BK's images with fresh copywriting was a priority.

A fast, responsive, future-proofed website 

Joe Hirst again: 'The original website didn't do justice to BK's capabilities, their ability to deliver high-value projects to tight deadlines, and the value to customers. Using the latest website technology and with Matt's clear brief, we've given BK a fast, responsive, future-proofed website. Prospects can visit on various devices and be sure of getting BK's sales message. BK can easily add content with the site's easy-to-use CMS, so they aren't dependent on others to do this. Above all, the clear, visually engaging site quickly demonstrates BK's services and the benefits of working with them.'

Part of Firestarter's brief was to develop new business and marketing strategies. And a tactical marketing programme, including email marketing and e-newsletters targeting specific new markets. As well as being BK's main project showcase, the new website integrates with their inbound and outbound marketing. Historically, agriculture hasn't been an early-adopter of web technology, However, this is changing and the new website will engage with agriculture. Importantly, its real strength will be engagement with buyers in other industries -- prospects whose first action, when seeking services, is to look online. Hence the importance of Swimming Hippo's work on the site's on- and off-site optimisation and Google Analytics integration.

The Evesham-based digital agency was a perfect choice. As well as being a trusted partner of Firestarter, the company, founded in 2001, is experienced at digital marketing strategy, web design and development. Joe Hirst: 'We started from a low base -- 10 visits a day was 'busy' on the old site. By combining strong search engine optimisation, Pay-Per-Click and email marketing with a new site we anticipate considerable improvement.'

The benefit of outsourced marketing

Swimming Hippo perfectly complements my strategic and account management skills Firestarter, an outsourced marketing specialist, was hired in August 2016. Part of its brief was getting a new website live by Christmas -- a target that Firestarter and Swimming Hippo achieved. As Matt Wheeler explains: 'This is the latest of many projects with Swimming Hippo. We had to move fast, so, once I'd agreed strategy with BK, I assembled a mass of information, including project images and other source material. Swimming Hippo got these with my brief and began work on Phase 1 of the new website.'

A fine-tuned creative methodology

After working closely for years, the partners have a fine-tuned creative methodology, whereby Matt liaises between clients and Swimming Hippo. The relationship's strength comes into its own when time is tight, as with BK, who wanted their new website to go live quickly. Firestarter brings business understanding, strategic skills, account handling and finely-honed briefing skills. Swimming Hippo complements this with fast delivery of high-quality design, backed by robust site architecture. And there's a great user experience reflecting thorough appreciation of BK's needs. Swimming Hippo also look after technical aspects of ongoing site maintenance.

Phase 2 of the project involved ongoing optimisation, email marketing and fine-tuning of performance based on analytics. This phase started early in 2017. Matt Wheeler again: 'With the site live, we embarked on further transforming BK's web presence and online marketing. An online service and maintenance booking system is planned, as well as integration of BK's customer database for targeted messaging. Looking further ahead, we'll add more portfolio items and an e-commerce model so customers can buy equipment and spares online.'

Firestarter and Swimming Hippo's collaboration made it easy and worry-free for BK to benefit from a tailored package of strategy and online marketing. Matt Wheeler continues, 'this is yet another project where Swimming Hippo helped us offer an enhanced service with confidence. I particularly value how they aren't just 'web designers', but proactively contribute to strategy. Our relationship exemplifies great teamwork and outsourcing in practice. It also means we're both stronger than on our own and can offer clients like BK a wider skillset.'

Everything we want

Swimming Hippo improves all aspects of clients' online and offline comms with creatively-driven solutions underpinned by thoughtful strategy and a sound technical approach. In a few months working for BK, they transformed the agri-engineer's online presence. And they gave them a strong, scalable, online presence that will be the hub for future online marketing. BK are all set to address a very different marketing environment to that in which Simon Bird's father original co-founded the business. 'Our new website,' says Simon, 'has everything we want and flexibility that our old site never had. Previously, we couldn't add new content in ways that would engage with prospects and search engines. Now, thanks to Swimming Hippo's user-friendly CMS, adding new services, case studies or market sectors is easy.'

We'd recommend Swimming Hippo

With the new website working for the business, colleagues, customers and others are positive about Firestarter and Swimming Hippo's work. Simon Bird again: 'Everyone agrees that this is what we needed. While always respecting the past, we understand how a new generation of agricultural managers -- and decision makers in other industries that can benefit from our skills -- use the internet and social media. We've embraced this wholeheartedly.'

Would Simon Bird recommend Firestarter and Swimming Hippo? He's unhesitatingly affirmative: 'Matt and Joe delivered everything we wanted. They got the job done fast and smoothly. And at the same time they freed us from specialised marketing activity we had to do, but simply didn't have the skills or time to do ourselves.'

Fire and water don't usually mix, but as Firestarter Marketing Services and Swimming Hippo have shown again, there are exceptions to every rule!

More information

Swimming Hippo: Digital & Creative Agency 
Crab Apple Way
WR11 1GY
t: 01386 764747

Firestarter Marketing Services Ltd 
Suite 9, Pure Offices
Kembrey Park
t: 01793 238 012

Friday, 28 July 2017

Venice Beach Bike Hire & Digital User Journey's

To celebrate my daughter finishing her GCSE's, we planned a 'once in a lifetime' family road trip around California.

After witnessing breathtaking natural beauty in Yosemite Park and pushing my fear of heights by looking out from Glacier Point, our travels took us further south west to the coast at Venice Beach.

Now this place is pretty mad. Artists selling their creations along the boardwalk, shops renting surf boards and street art decorating the gables of apartments generally available to rent to tourists. Add to this the sheer volume of people and you start to gain an idea about the energy levels and chaos here.

This got me thinking. In amongst this chaos, how can a person selling services stand out from their neighbouring competitor.

Well here's my journey on selecting a bike to hire for the boardwalk ride from Venice Beach to Santa Monica.

Much like gaining attention at Venice Beach, making your business standout online is challenging. The principals of selecting a service/business whether physical or online are much the same. Here's a few basic reminders based on my experience...

// Positioning
If you're not visible, nobody can can find you. The bike hire company I used is situated on the boardwalk, you couldn't miss it! Can your business be found in Google listings when people search for a key service you offer? Whether using Search Engine Optimisation listings or Paid listings, you need to be found before anything else can happen.

// Branding
Does your branding represent the services/products you offer? Is it unique? Or is it still that logo a nephew knocked together 5 years ago and you've just run with it... your branding must make you stand out from your competition and be unique to attract attention. Muscle Beach Bike Hire with its bright orange bikes, literature and shop front certainly did that.

// Price Point
Venice Beach bike hire pricing was pretty standard at all the rental shops I looked at. This is not by accident... have you compared your price point to competitors, they certainly had. This is so important especially if you are offer a service that can easily be compared to a competitors.

// Service
So once I'd selected the shop, I went inside only to be met by your absolutely typical surf/beach 'dude'... who was amazingly friendly, passionate about what he was doing/slightly mad and knew his product. Once somebody has found your website, are they greeted with an image that truly represents your business? Does the content express your knowledge and passion for what you do? If your services are represented in a mediocre manner, the response rate will reflect this.

// Product
After finishing our ride up to Santa Monica, we returned our bikes delighted with the experience. No issues with chains coming off, punctures or the bikes being in disrepair... phew! Sometimes it's not so easy to know whether your service is up to scratch. Is your service as good as you think it is? Do you ever ask your clients for feedback? Hmmm...definitely something I need to look at doing.

// Cross Selling
As we had such a great experience hiring out our bikes using the Muscle Beach Bike Hire Company, we didn't hesitate to use the same place to hire out surf boards... again the service was superb, unlike my surfing!

If you want to create a user journey that will help your clients firstly find you, then engage with you, Swimming Hippo can help.

Call 01386 841449 or email for more information.

Swimming Hippo
Digital & Creative Agency

Branding // Website design // Search Engine Optimisation // Google AdWords //  Email Marketing

Wednesday, 26 April 2017

Google AdWords. Does anyone actually click on those?

Google AdWords. Does anyone actually click on those?

Over the years I've been asked numerous times whether anyone actually clicks on Google AdWords, Googles' sponsored link advertising facility. Well I usually answer by confirming that this is Googles' main source of revenue stream, in 2016 89.5 Billion US Dollars were generated through AdWords, so yes people do click on them. (

Now, how well they work depends upon techniques used when setting the account up and in management of the account.

One of the key requirements with any set up is to make sure that your Ad Campaign is segmented correctly, so when recently setting up a hotel campaign, we made certain that each 'Ad Group' holds within it several adverts relating to that group.

For example, an Ad Group was set up for 'Weddings', this group holds adverts based around topics the hotel specialise in; Country Weddings, Historic Wedding Venue, Weddings in the location of the hotel, etc... Doing this provides you with greater control over which adverts will show when selected search terms are used to activate them.

It also allows for greater control over ROI data.

Understanding your ROI (or Return on Investment) is critical to successful management of Google AdWords. If you have to ask yourself whether your current campaign spend is successful, you should maybe ask a few questions about the quality of its management.

Google AdWords has a facility called Conversions. Setting up Conversions will certainly help you achieve clarity on business generated from your campaign. If set up well, this facility can tell you which advert is causing the most conversions or actions on your site. An action can include the viewing of a page or even monitoring of a button click - so the Weddings Ad Group mentioned earlier is linked to two conversions, firstly how many people have viewed the Weddings Page and secondly how many have clicked to download a Weddings Brochure.

Real data tracking, nothing hidden.

These are just two elements of setting up an effective campaign, there are many more.

If you are looking to gain instant traffic to your website and be able to carefully monitor the success of your campaign, why not call Swimming Hippo on 01386 7647417 or email

We work directly with Google when setting up your campaign.

Wednesday, 15 February 2017

Ecommerce Growth Predicted for 2017

In 2016, the UK ecommerce market was worth 133 billion pounds, that's a colossal figure.  IMRG predicted a growth of 11 percent during 2016, the actual figure was 16 percent.

This growth is expected to continue in 2017 by a predicted 14%. Will the market out perform expectations again? This kind of growth opportunity is difficult to ignore.

At Swimming Hippo we have been helping companies to set up ecommerce sites for over 10 years using bespoke software. However over the last few months, we have changed direction and selected Shopify as our preferred platform.

Shopify provides many key features in it's most basic form such as:
  • Bespoke design templates accepted (key for design freedom)
  • Easy editing facility for products and content
  • Stock management
  • Postage management
  • Seamless cart experience 
  • Multiple gateway payment systems
  • 24/7 support
  • Full order management
  • Detailed reporting
In addition, Shopify fully integrates with MailChimp, the email marketing tool Swimming Hippo have been using when creating and broadcast promotional emails for over 2 years.

This means that powerful smart email facilities can be set up to enhance your clients shopping experience. If you have purchased online no doubt you will have experienced some of these enhancements. For example if a purchase is made, an email can be automatically sent a few days later asking the purchaser if they would like to leave a review or quietly nudge a client that has abandoned a product in their cart, maybe emailing them a discount incentive if their purchase is completed.

Combining these platforms will provide you with expanded facilities for you ecommerce site or future site.

Swimming Hippo produced the new Cadventure Vectorworks ecommerce site using Shopify, take a look here at the end result:

'Swimming Hippo recently delivered the second of Cadventure's online stores. Our new Vectorworks software store has a complex structure and they worked hard to create an attractive and functional consumer site. We are very pleased with the end result as Swimming Hippo went the extra mile to help us achieve our goals.'

Elaine Lewis, Managing Director

If you are interested in developing a new or existing ecommerce website or reviewing your digital marketing to promote the site, don't hesitate to call Joseph on 01386 764747 or email

FaceBook: @SwimmingHippo
Twitter: @swimming_hippo

Friday, 6 January 2017

Art Shape Charity programme

The Art Shape Charity programme runs arts courses and projects with a specific focus on disability issues and social inclusion. Using the Shopify platform, Swimming Hippo are converting Art Shape's current website to an eCommerce website allowing for online purchases. 

Are you considering a new website or eCommerce project in 2017?

Why not give us a call on 01386 764747 or use our contact form.

Care Check Email Marketing

Care Check provide fast and quality DBS and DS criminal record checks to employers in all industries and charities. Care Check hope to achieve more enquires through their online application with a new website design.

'From first meeting with Swimming Hippo to discuss requirements for our new website they stood out from the crowd, friendly, professional and most importantly fantastic design skills!' 

- Charles Eason, Managing Director of Care Check

Care Check service multiple markets with DBS checks. Swimming Hippo have increased enquires from these market sectors using data and visual segmentation techniques as part of an email marketing campaign. 

'Swimming Hippo have helped us enormously with our email marketing needs and taken the hassle out of creating campaigns ourselves and the worry out of using mailer companies who’s data we cannot necessarily trust!' 

- Charles Eason, Managing Director of Care Check

Are you considering a new website project or email marketing campaign in 2017?

Why not give us a call on 01386 764747 or use our contact form.