Friday, 22 May 2015

More coffee please!

May is the month for new business (April was pretty good to actually...)

Swimming Hippo is pleased to have been selected to continue or start new contracts with a number of businesses in April & May.

Whatley Manor Hotel & Spa

AA Inspectors Choice Hotel with five stars based in the Cotswolds have been working with Swimming Hippo to improve their email marketing. So far the Whatley Manor e-newsletter is achieving an open rate of 24% and a click through rate of 6%.

Smart XS - Exhibition stand designers

Having developed a site for Smart XS over 4 years ago, we are pleased to be working with them on the design and development of a new mobile friendly website.

A Creative Combination

Gloucestershire Dance & Artshape are working on a range of projects under the umbrella branding of the Arts Inc Partnership. A new responsive website is being designed for this combination of creative arts organisations.

"Both GDance and Art Shape chose Swimming Hippo to develop their individual organisations’ websites, and felt confident returning to SH with this new brief for the Arts Inc partnership micro-site.  Joe had already taken time to understand the two organisations’ values, image and vitally important access requirements" Cath Wilkins (Director)

The Speech House

Recognizing the need to increase their digital marketing requirements, The Speech House have approved an increase in their digital marketing program.

"Having worked with Swimming Hippo developing our digital marketing for several years, we
have found them to be both extremely helpful and innovative. In an ever changing market place one has to always be aware of new trends. I would fully recommend Swimming Hippo." Peter Hands (Director)

Fire Starter Business Solutions

Firestarter Business Solutions delivers sales and growth engines that achieve real, measurable, positive impact on your business performance & profitability. Swimming Hippo is now the selected supplier to deliver all digital marketing requirements for Fire Starter Solutions.

"We are really pleased to be working with Swimming Hippo to deliver digital marketing in support of our clients' sales and growth objectives. We look forward to a long and successful partnership." Matt Wheeler (Director)

Reaching for the skies

Fletcher Access ( have used Swimming Hippo for the conversion of their website to responsive design in response to last months Mobileaggedon email campaign.

"Thank you Joe, good job done." Simon Fletcher (Director)

We are looking to take on more projects over the next few months. If you have any digital marketing or creative requirements, please call 01386 764747 or email

Tuesday, 12 May 2015

Email marketing, is it worth it?

Email marketing has become a default method for many businesses to keep in touch with their clients and contact companies with a view to gaining new business. It's a cost effective marketing tool that can be fully tracked and monitored in order to check the success of each time you 'broadcast' or send a message. 

The effectiveness of an email campaign depends on many factors, this post provides an overview of items to consider for starters:

How do I acquire good data?
Should I send the same message to my entire data list?
How important is design?
Can I avoid spam filters?
What are responsive design templates?
To what extent can I track activity?
What are your legal requirements?

How do I acquire good data? 

Okay, so you have a great product or service but nobody to email it to, how do you start to build an email data list?

Buy it! Well first of all you can buy data - but this presents an issue immediately as data suppliers range from the 'buy one million business emails for a dollar' offers to ones that you should actually consider. So what we are saying is NEVER buy cheap data lists, they will contain mainly useless email accounts that probably don't exist anymore and worse than that, emailing those lists is quite possibly illegal. So that's the don't, what about who you should buy from. As with purchasing any product, check your supplier background, who they currently supply and if they are accredited with the right groups such as DMA and IDM. Once the basics have been established, ask questions such as how was the data acquired, i.e. what did the people who have registered these email accounts opt in to receive information about, how old is the list and when was it last cleaned, that is when was the list last checked for email accounts that no longer exist (those that hard bounce).
Existing clients. If the information that you are emailing is relevant to existing clients, which it should be, then contact each client and request permission to add their email details to your data list.   

From website enquires. Ideally a contact form from your website should be made available for visitors to request information about your business, but don't forget to allow for those making the enquiries to tick the 'please send me information in the future' inclusion box. 

Should I send the same message to my entire data list? 

As with any good direct marketing exercise, the more focused your effort, the better chance of success you have. So if you can segment your data into specific relevant categories then do so. It maybe that the topic you are promoting is suitable for your entire data list, but maybe you have some vital information for a specific sector and on those occasions having the facility to focus your broadcast is beneficial. For example,  there is very little point in me sending an email only covering the topic 'helping hotels to increase direct bookings'  to a data set that includes schools and academies. Planning is required to manage your data in this way. 

How important is design? 

Good design is vital to the success of any email campaign in so many ways ranging from brand continuity to presenting the right first impression to making sure that the recipient knows where to click to get to relevant information without really having to think about it. Applying simply design principals will make your email more attractive and eye-catching, so more effective. 

Can I avoid the spam filters? 

The immediate answer to that question is, you can't avoid spam filters. According to Return Path who monitor spam data, you can expect to loose 10-20% of your emails each broadcast.  

So how do you keep this figure as low as possible? There are a number of basic ways to do this: 

Your email subject should not SHOUT AT IT'S RECEPIENT, avoid caps. 
Do not go crazy with exclamation marks !!!!!!!!!!! 
Avoid using brightly colored fonts. 
It's probably not a "Once in a lifetime opportunity" so don't over exaggerate with your terminology. 
Avoid using one large image and make sure that the HTML code used for your template is very clean. 
Keep your data fresh, don't send to stale or dead email accounts. 

What are responsive design templates? 

Just like your website should view correctly on smart phones and tablets as well as desk top computers, your email should also because... no surprise here, take a look at this stat: 
"More email is read on Mobile than on desktop email clients. Stats say 48% of email is now opened on a mobile device Litmus --"Email Analytics" (Jan 2015)" 

To what extent can I track activity? 

The tracking of activity following an email broadcast is one of my favorite aspects of email marketing, in fact I can become quite obsessed with it. You can track the basics; how many people received your email, who opened it and how many times, which link they click on, when and again, how many times... then you can get more interesting, sending out to a sample of your data emails with different titles and tracking which is the most effective prior to completing the full broadcast. Linking your email into Google Analytics is also a very useful method of tracking data, especially when e-commerce is involved... there's just too much to list, don't get me started please! 

What are the legal requirements? 

Okay in as basic a statement as possible, make sure that all your email data recipients have opted in to receive emails from you (or you as a third party). Provide recipients with a method of unsubscribing from your data list and display your company details on all emails broadcast. If you want to know more, it's worth taking a look at  

Is email marketing worth it? If it's done effectively, yes! 

Swimming Hippo have been designing, managing and broadcasting email market campaigns for over a decade. If you are interested in starting or improving your email marketing, we can help. 

Email or call 01386 764747 for more information.