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Website launch: Arthur Johnson auctioneers

We’ve just completed and launched our latest web project, for one of the UK’s largest auction companies Arthur Johnson & Sons.

It was an interesting and complex development, requiring some innovative approaches to integrating with existing auction platforms as well as complex planning to ensure the site worked seamlessly with the bidding processes of one of busiest auction room complexes in the country.

As part of the process, we created an online application which allowed Arthur Johnson to simply integrate their site with the bidding platform they have been using to manage their online catalogue.

Our solution greatly simplified the processes involved allowing user-friendly management of their online auction presence.

Record Sales

Our work with Arthur Johnson has already attracted interest from one of the UK’s largest auction software companies.

The site was also planned to improve the user experience of the thousands of auction goers who visit it each week – with intuitive information architecture, improved search facility, personalised auction alerts and clear user interface.

Within a week of the launch of the new site, Arthur Johnson & Sons saw record online sales and passed the 50% mark for bids coming from their online users for the first time.

Bath Half Marathon

Tickbox Marketing are entering the Bath Half Marathon this year, and I am running for Bath Cats and Dogs Home, one of the largest re-homing centres in the UK with over 3,000 unwanted cats, dogs and small animals they help every year.

How You Can Help

If you are able to make a donation to help the home in their work I’d be very grateful.

As BCDH say “All donations are put to good use at the Home, whether it is pocket change or a lump sum.”

£5 will run a heat lamp for a sick animal for two weeks

£7 will buy kongs and activity balls to keep the dogs minds busy

£10 gives exercise equipment for a ferret or hamster

£12 will buy cream to stop white cats and dogs getting sunburn

£25 will provide a bed to keep an elderly dog warm or microchip a new animal

£40 will neuter or castrate a cat

£60 will neuter or castrate a dog

£150 will provide shelter in the exercise paddocks

My Training

Training has been going well, although training over the winter has been hard work.

With less than 2 weeks until the run I went on an 8 mile run on Sunday:

View Larger Map

I use an iPhone running/training app called Cyclemeter for tracking my runs, and used it to generate the map route above. It’s useful to track your progress, and keep track of your runs. It’s also handy for accurately find out the length of your regular runs.

It’s a really good app, and it uses the iPhone’s GPS so the distance and speed calculations are really accurate compared to iPhone/iPod running apps like Nike+.

Social Media Marketing Workshops

With a glut of “experts” offering their services on social media, we’ve made sure to differentiate our training by focussing on marketing engagement strategies, not just doing the technology.

We don’t just want to excite you about the opportunities new technologies can present, but we help you to plan and use the tools that will make a real difference to how you engage with your clients/customers/communities and ultimately help you to achieve your marketing goals.

Our training is based on evidenced research, benchmark studies and client feedback.

How we work:

  • We keep our workshops small to allow for personalised and practical training
  • We bring sector/industry knowledge and understanding to contextualise the training
  • We use an e-adoption ladder to help you set goals and evaluate your progress
  • We believe in a shared learning experience and make this integral to our training

While each workshop is tailored, this is a general framework we use for our workshop:

1.  Showing examples of social media in action that is relevant to you

Outcome: This gives delegates an understanding of how and why social media works and the relevance to them.

2. Planning your social media, to cover:

  • Goals
  • Target Audience
  • User processes
  • Social media tools/platforms
  • Measures
  • Resource allocation

The outcome is for delegates to create their own draft social media plan/strategy.

3. Social media tools/Platforms

We look at the different social media tools including Flickr, YouTube, Facebook, Twitter etc

To help delegates decide on which tools would work for their social media marketing strategy.

4.  Introduction to the Social Media tools

This involves practical training on using the tools.

5.  Resource allocation

How to evaluate the time value investment for implementing social media marketing.

We provide half day or full day workshops as well as 3 hour taster sessions.

Please get in touch with us if you require further information or wish to book a place/workshop.

Snow boarding at HorseWorld

Our shiny new advertising board is now on display at HorseWorld in Bristol – set off nicely by the recent snowfall!

We’ve worked with the charity for a number of years now and wanted to advertise our work with them to visitors to their attraction – as well as supporting a client we’ve enjoyed working with.

We think it looks rather fetching in the snow – and well worth seeing if you’re looking for something to do in the Christmas holidays (of course you can also see the animals, run around in the play barn and straw den, enjoy the aerial runway, take part in workshops, visit the museum and the other fun things at the visitor centre while you’re there!)

The Tender Trap

What do you do if you are invited to respond to a tender and the company who put it together has got it all wrong?

It’s a tricky question – but one that comes up time and again when it comes to web development.

We recently received a tender brief for redeveloping a website for a South West organisation that immediately raised alarm bells. While the marketing team involved obviously had a clear idea of the issues they needed to address, the proposed solutions set out in the brief were going to cause them as many problems as they solved.

They specifically requested that the tender should reflect a proposed development structure – unfortunately, one where we could see that much of the development work would be duplicated, and key design information architecture work would be carried out after the CMS to support them was built, with potentially serious consequences for usability.

In this kind of situation, we are always faced with the dilemma of whether to simply respond to what the company is asking for in the way they requested, or to let them know our concerns and respond with a proposal to work the way we know is best.

In this case, we decided the best course of action would be to talk to the people who put the tender together and express our concerns that they risked compromising their project – and spending more than they needed to – if the project went ahead as they suggested.

Thankfully, the people we spoke to understood our point straight away and were happy to hear constructive suggestions about their project.

The problem for businesses putting together web tenders is that web development is a mix of different disciplines – it’s part marketing and part web design, you need expertise in both to make it work.

Marketing teams will understand their marketing aims and what the want the site to achieve for them, but often have limited knowledge of the actual technical processes of building a site.

Similarly, pure web design companies will know how the technology works but not how it can best support a businesses marketing aims.

We always recommend that when putting together a web tender, companies should take advice not only from the people in their organisation responsible for marketing but also from people who understand the nuts and bolts of web development. Ideally, both should work together – not just on the tender, but on the whole web marketing strategy.

Not every organisation will get the people they invited to tender picking up on issues with their brief – often, understandably, web companies just aim to meet the brief they have been given.