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Author: Christopher Ratcliff

Christopher Ratcliff

Christopher was the Deputy Editor at Econsultancy. He runs pop culture site Methods Unsound and you can hound him on Twitter @Christophe_Rock.

Fight Club! Ferrari vs. Lamborghini

It’s time to live vicariously through rapper The Game, various Premiership footballers and the lead singer of Jamiroquai.

Most of us can relate to browsing for a Kia or a MINI online, interacting with its social channels, endlessly researching customisable features on a mobile device and maybe even buying one via an ecommerce store.

Now let’s imagine we’ve all gone up a pay grade (or ten).

What’s it like carrying out the above online tasks with a brand from the luxury sports end of the automotive industry?

How does it feel to browse the online catalogue of Ferrari? What’s it like asking Lamborghini’s Twitter account “why hasn’t my Aventador LP 700-4 Roadster turned up yet?” Is it possible to even attempt the checkout process without being snootily (and rightfully) removed from the virtual forecourt by the scruff of my filthy shirt collar? I may have to borrow someone else’s credit card to find out.

So with all of this in mind I’ll be standing between the two powerhouses of speed and aspirational materialism, waving my chequered flag and seeing which of the two super cars makes it past the finishing line and which one ends up bonnet first in a ditch.

GO GO GO!

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What is off-page SEO and how can you use it?

Before we begin to understand what ‘off-page SEO’ means and the various methods that relate to it, let’s have a quick recap at what ‘on-page SEO’ means.

On-page SEO (or on-site SEO) refers to all the elements on your web page that you can control in order to make it visible to search engines. 

For instance: internal linking, using a clear navigation with a naturally flowing hierarchy, search engine friendly URLs that have relevancy to the content, fast loading pages, submitting regularly updated XML sitemaps or remembering to tag your images and videos properly. 

On-page SEO can be considered a technical job, although there’s nothing particularly complicated to learn if you want to carry out the basic techniques of good SEO. It’s about adopting a routine or having a checklist in place that ensures you remember the tasks that benefit your page’s visibility.

Off-page SEO requires a different discipline or skillset from the above, but the desired outcome remains the same.

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13 things to consider when implementing a CRM plan

A CRM (customer relationship management) is the name for any system or model used to manage a company’s interactions with its current or future clients or customers.

It can be used to organise, automate and synchronise all of the customer facing areas within your company: from marketing to sales to customer service to technical support.

CRM gives you the time to develop other areas of your business, whilst giving you the reassurance that you’re not letting your existing clients down or responding to new enquiries in an efficient manner.

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How data can be used to take your email marketing up a level

What needs to be done to bridge the gap between ordinary email marketing and best-in-class email marketing?

I’ll be taking a look at our recent report, Bridging the Gap in Email Marketing, written by Morag Cuddeford-Jones and in partnership with Pure360, in which interviews were conducted with digital marketing professionals across a range of businesses, exploring the challenges and opportunities for marketers who are committed to taking their use of email to the next level.

As the report reveals through its interviews, to ‘go up a level’ in email marketing actually means the necessary act of going down a level. Many levels in fact. Drilling deeper and deeper into data, into the organisation and deeper into the customer’s needs to deliver effective campaigns.

There are four key areas which need to be explored; mobile, personalisation, automation & integration, and data. Here we’ll be taking a look at the latter discipline.

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14 semi-mind-blowing ways the internet kept us entertained this week

“It’s round-up time. Whoa-oh-oh-oh. It’s round-up time. STOP… It’s round-up time!”

As you can hear I’ve come up with a theme tune for this weekly round-up of internet japes and harpoonery.

Although it doesn’t have a fixed title every week, I thought perhaps at least I could give it a catchy jingle so you know that it is indeed time for the weekly internet round-up.

Unfortunately I’m cursed with the problem that every time I try to come up with an original tune, it soon descends into ‘U Can’t Touch This’.

Come back next week when I unveil a brand new theme tune called ‘Please Round-up Don’t Hurt ‘em’.

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20 best branded Vines and Instagram videos from World Cup 2014

Brazil 2014 is the first social video World Cup.

It’s quite telling how often Vines and Instagrams are used as part of the pre-match build-up by the BBC and ITV, either by showing videos the pundits or players have uploaded or by sharing ones from the fans themselves.

It’s even more extraordinary to think that neither channel existed during the time of last World Cup in 2010.

Brands (both sponsors and non-sponsors alike) are also capitalising on creating awareness and generating shares through Vine and Instagram by hijacking one of the most compelling global sporting competitions.

I regularly round-up the best Vines and Instagram Videos from brands every month, here are some of the best World Cup related ones I’ve seen so far…

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What is the current state of bitcoin adoption?

Bitcoin, it’s the future of online payment don’t you know. 

After the initial rush of media intrigue and early adopter excitement, what happened next for the digital currency from the future? 

Many of our own blog-posts deal with various issues related to bitcoin – trust and regulation, alternatives and relevance to the consumer but what about adoption? 

How widespread has the uptake for bitcoin been for online (or even offline) retail?  

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Why is MINI's social strategy so immense?

I was going to call this ‘why MINI’s social media strategy is maximum fun’ but as soon as you describe something as ‘fun’ it kind of stops being that.

Which certainly isn’t the fate that the 55 year-old automobile brand deserves. Its social media campaigns are huge amounts of… might have to dust off the old thesaurus for this one… lively hoopla?

Fine. Fun it is. MINI’s social campaigns contain some of the most playfully engaging, dizzyingly inventive and delightfully gratifying fun you’ll experience from a brand today.

Ford has an excellent social media strategy full of humour and creativity, now imagine how much fun a brand that’s half its age (and size) can have.

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How fashion ecommerce brands use email marketing

Continuing my quest to investigate how various industries use email marketing, here’s a look at how some of our favourite fashion retailers use this most effective yet often neglected marketing channel.

Much like my round-up on the travel industry a couple of weeks ago, I’ll be looking at the frequency of emails, the use of subject lines, the email content itself, special offers, editorial voice, personalisation, relevance… All of the many tools that a company can utilise to coerce the recipient to open up an email or even engage with it.

As well as the above criteria, I also filled up a shopping basket and abandoned it without purchase to see if I would receive any reminder emails. I also entered my birthday as a date in between sign-up and writing this article to see if I was offered any discounts or at some birthday wishes. It’s not fraud, it’s science!

These are the 16 sites I chose to register my details with: Urban Outfitters, ASOS, Threadless, H&M, Topshop, Topman, American Apparel, UNIQLO, Gap, River Island, Next, Pull and Bear, Anthropologie, Forever 21, Miss Selfridge and The Kooples.

Now let’s take a look at the ravaged state of my inbox. Thank you Gmail promotions tab…

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lego instagram video

14 of the best branded Instagram videos of June 2014

Here are some of the finest branded Instagram videos from June 2014. 

Taking in everything from pink unicorns, child-spinning heartwarmers and World Cup related fever.

It’s a cavalcade of mini-epics, tiny spectacles and other maddening oxymorons that I won’t apologise for. Enjoy...

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27 of the best branded Vines from June 2014

It’s the end of June and therefore we can finally reveal the very best of mini-movie-masterpieces from the preceding four and a bit weeks.

We have everything here from 'sweded' Ghostbusters, yogurt cruelty and donuts, so many donuts. (and yes I will be spelling donuts like that throughout the article).

So buckle up for exactly 162 seconds of entertainment. Longer if you stop to linger over my semi-insightful blathering.

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pizza bed

14 tasty internet morsels we've left on our plate for you to pick at

These tempting leftovers are impossible to resist despite the fact you have already gorged yourself disgusting on everything the internet had to offer this week.

Go on, just another forkful. The diet can start next week.

Although what that ‘diet’ consists of I’m not sure. Perhaps not spending quite so much time mass-messaging Tinder users pictures of yourself with a dangerous predator would be a start.

Speaking of which…

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