james gurd

A guide to structuring your email marketing program

I’ve spent a lot of time since 2009 advising clients on email strategy and implementation, but less on actual implementation.

I was starting to miss the fun of creating campaigns, hitting the send button and watching the results. That changed when I decided to launch a new UK crowdfunding startup, with some close friends.

As Head of Digital, I’ve had to get back into the detail of email marketing and think beyond the strategy. This blog shares my experience on what makes for good email marketing in terms of process and strategy components.

I hope you find it useful reading.

Ecommerce information architecture: the devil in the detail (part three)

This blog is the third and final part of my ecommerce information architecture mini-series and takes a look at some of the key components and guidelines for what ecommerce teams need to think about.

Today I’m going to send you to sleep talking about SEO and integration of non-product content.

I’d welcome comments to add to my views and share advice/experience of what works, what mistakes to avoid and useful resources. Hope you find it useful reading.

Ecommerce information architecture: the devil in the detail (part two)

This blog is part two of my ecommerce IA mini-series and takes a look at some of the key components and guidelines for what ecommerce teams need to think about.

Today I’m going to send you to sleep talking about URL structure & data formats (yawn…).

For those of you who missed it, part one is on site & catalogue structure.

I’d welcome comments to add to my views and share advice/experience of what works, what mistakes to avoid and useful resources to use. Hope you find it useful reading.

Ecommerce information architecture: the devil in the detail

I’ve worked with many clients (and on my own sites) where avoidable structural/data problems add unnecessary complexity to website management.

I say avoidable because they’re usually a result of not asking the right questions upfront before the site is built. It’s a tough task to cover all bases for an ecommerce platform because there are so many factors in play that can affect elements like on-site UX, business reporting, data flows and SEO.

In my experience, it’s a continuous learning curve, picking up insight from specialists along the way to build a (hopefully) thorough knowledge base of what information you need to effectively build a website, what format the data needs to be in and what it needs to do e.g. data field X in the CMS drives site search results

Five ways crowdfunding will help retail ecommerce in 2014

The UK’s innovation agency, NESTA, predicts the UK crowdfunding industry to raise £14bn in 2016. That’s a big number considering the global market was expected to reach $6bn in 2013, up from $2.7bn in 2012.

The growth is being driven by an increase in platforms, rapid adoption of crowdfunding as a finance source by businesses and growing consumer awareness.

Page load speed: 14 valuable tips for ecommerce managers

It’s widely accepted that minimising page load speed is good practice for ecommerce, to ensure visitors get a fast service and search engines don’t mark the webpages down for usability.

But what does this mean? What are the techniques you need to use to achieve this? And if you’re not technical, how can you make sense of the jargon to make sensible decisions?

In this blog, I look at the most common causes of slow page loads speeds, which will hopefully give ecommerce managers a useful starting place.

When I started out in ecommerce, I didn’t get this at all but i’ve spent time learning over the years to ensure that I know what questions to ask and what to look for.

You don’t have to grasp the detail of the technical implications to understand the essentials and that for me is something all ecommerce managers must master.

How do you build a great ecommerce team?

Launching an ecommerce channel is a no-brainer for many companies as it’s undoubtedly one of the most effective ways of building your business for the future.

But while the decision to launch an online store is a relatively easy one, knowing how and when to develop to ecommerce team is far more difficult.

To make the process easier we’ve just published our new report, Building an Ecommerce Team: A Best Practice Guide, which focuses on the challenges facing ecommerce managers as the digital channel grows and diversifies.

The guide is aimed at client-side ecommerce practitioners and includes recommendations from seasoned professionals on how to build and manage your team; how to create a framework for understanding the key challenges; and details on how changing market conditions are impacting the demands on ecommerce teams.

Understanding the business questions that attribution analysis can help answer

From the list of 2012 shameless buzzwords, attribution analysis is the one that really interests me and is a hot topic amongst most senior ecommerce professionals I know.


Because there isn’t a right answer for how use attribution analysis. During the attribution modelling sessions I moderated on for Econsultancy’s Digital Cream event, a constant theme was uncertainty about how to start using attribution and how to apply it to the business.

For many there was scepticism about the reliability and validity of the data.

I’m hoping this blog kick starts a discussion……

Six key issues from the attribution analysis & modelling table at Digital Cream 2013

I had the pleasure (or dubious honour?) of moderating on Econsultancy’s attribution analysis and modelling table at this year’s Digital Cream event at the Emirates stadium in London. 

It was an intriguing insight in to what ecommerce teams are doing and what is holding them back. The common theme was a slight unease about how best to use attribution modelling to help the business grow.

There was variety in the type of company represented, from membership organisations to high street retailers, as well as the job roles of the people attending, from ecommerce managers to business analysts.

Here’s a summary of the six key issues that were discussed and the challenges that businesses are facing.

James Gurd on enhanced campaigns and PPC best practice

As one of the core toolkits of digital marketers, paid search has been rapidly changing. From constant tweaks and updates to the search engine results page, through to consumers changing their habits by using mobile devices, professionals working in this field are constantly trying to stay ahead of the game in order to generate the greatest return on investment.

The recent changes that Google brought out with AdWords through ‘Enhanced Campaigns’ highlighted the need for new, up-to-date material for this critical area of digital marketing. To that end, we have recently updated our PaidSearch (PPC) Best Practice Guide.

Ecommerce and digital marketing consultant James Gurd is the lead author of our updated guide. James worked with leading practitioners from the field of paid search to make sure that the guide (which stands at over 300 pages in length and close to 120,000 words long) was as relevant as possible for all people interested in learning about and improving their paid search skills.

We spoke to James to find out more about the report and discuss how this will be useful for digital marketers today.

10 lessons learned from launching a Twitter Chat

Back in September 2012, myself and fellow Ecommerce Consultant Dan Barker decided that there was a gap in the market for an ecommerce centric industry chat.

Why? You may ask.

Well, we both regularly get asked ecommerce questions via social media channels (Twitter, Google+ & LinkedIn being the most common) and we also tap into the fountain of knowledge that is our followers.  

There is a constant flow of, and demand for, knowledge sharing. This blog takes a look at what we have learned launching a Twitter chat and the mistakes we’ve made along the way.

How to rock Econsultancy’s Digital Marketing Template Files

Econsultancy’s Digital Marketing Template Files are designed to provide practical tools for managing digital marketing, either by giving you reference material to sense check against or files that you can simply plug your own data/information in to.

In short, they help you look smart and save time, and since they were launched, over 38,000 people have downloaded them from the site.

I recently updated the template files for Econsultancy, introducing some new ones to the collection, including a whole new section on content marketing.

As these are some of the most downloaded content assets on Econsultancy, I thought it would be useful to give some insight into how these files can be used to benefit your business (and no this isn’t an egomania drive for self-publicity!).