2012: Is IE6 finally on the way out ?

2012 graphicOK, so here we are in 2012 but we'll start with a blast from the past. Microsoft have confirmed that use of what was once the de facto standard in web browsers, Internet Explorer 6, has now fallen below 1% of US internet surfers.

And not before time too. The fact that it was bundled with Windows made it ubiquitous and because these both came from Microsoft, few felt confident enough to try installing a better alternative. Eventually, this became easier and better browsers were more widely used, notably Mozilla Firefox and latterly Google Chrome.

Some IT projects were created specifically around IE6 (particularly in the public sector). Microsoft's ideas about "standards" didn't always coincide with those of the rest of the world, so as other applications began to rely on modern browser capabilities more and more, IE6 was often found wanting, leaving browser-based apps in need of expensive maintenance.

So, if you are using IE6, why not start 2012 by pensioning it off ? The latest version of  "IE" would be a good start but there is now a real choice of excellent browsers out there. They are all more secure, more effeicient and will give you a better "browsing experience" than IE6.

2012 graphic: Pedja Mi


How To Scan QR Codes

Although we are seeing QR Codes more and more these days, lots of people still don't understand how they work. This short video shows how to scan QR Codes.

Here is the link mentioned in the video: italicmarketing.com/qrcodes.

You can find out even more about QR Codes and what they can do for your business in our free report. Just enter your email address below.

Alternatively, drop us a line or just call us on 0117 911 4187.

Video music credit: http://danosongs.com



Get mobile !


Mobile internet use continues to rise. Hardly surprising when you consider that more and more of us are getting smart phones and that we are using them to access the web whilst we're on the move.

And if you were in any doubt about the importance of the mobile internet, consider this: Facebook have recently revamped their mobile web presence. Given that a recent report suggested that they now have more than 250 million members using Facebook via mobile devices, this is hardly surprising.

How does your web site look when it's viewed through a smart phone ? This short video describes some of the pitfalls of not optimising your web site for access from mobile devices.

For help in making your web site mobile friendly, call us on 0117 911 4187.


Email marketing video

Following on from our recent blog post about the importance of email marketing, we have recently had one of our little videos made on this subject. Let us know what you think !


Hello 2011 !

2011 graphic

Goodbye 2010. I've just been reviewing the blog post that I made at the start of the year. What have we seen in that time ?

Well for me, there was one stand-out performer in 2010. But before we get to that, let's see how 2009's top dog did in the last twelve months.

2009 was the year that Twitter really achieved prominence for the public at large. Some expected the bubble to burst in 2010 and whilst growth did slow down early in the year, it has continued.

In fact, a recent statistic showed that over 95% of Twitter accounts have been created in the last two years ! A revamped look and feel coupled with some new features to allow the monetisation of the platform have cemented Twitter's place as the second most important social media network.

And the most important ? Well, it has to be Facebook.

Facebook had enjoyed time in the spotlight before last year and during 2009, seeing the meteoric rise of Twitter, some were thinking that Facebook had gone as far as it could and that its growth would slow down in 2010.

But no.

2010 has seen an amazing torrent of new ideas from Mark Zukerberg's organisation. As I write this, not all of these are available to all users yet, but here are some of the major new features that he announced in 2010 ...

  • Facebook Places
  • Facebook Questions
  • Facebook Deals
  • A "new way" of messaging - no prizes for guessing the name.

Not all of these are totally new concepts: some of them are just Facebook's own implementation of ideas already seen elsewhere. But Facebook's massive presence means that most (or all) of them stand a good chance of becoming the de facto standard in their own niche.

We've also seen revisions to Facebook's personal profiles and Groups and of course, the debate about Facebook's use of personal data has continued.

We've also seen reports that Facebook is getting more traffic than Google ! Some have even suggested that the days of "King Google" are numbered and that Facebook may usurp its role as the default first port of call for web users.

This may not be such a crazy idea, given that Facebook passed the 500 million member mark in July 2010, and that their membership is still growing.

And of course in the autumn of 2010, a movie about the formation and early growth of Facebook, The Social Network, enjoyed success at the box office. Our own (shorter) movie about social media is not being talked about as an Oscar contender, but it's still worth seeing !

So what's in store for 2011 ?

One thing that I feel sure we will have to include in the review of 2011 is the growing use of the mobile internet.


Powerful mobile devices like the iPhone, iPad and the increasingly popular "Android" variants mean that for more and more people, "using the internet" does not mean using a desktop or laptop PC.

For them, it means using their phone or "tablet".

Much of this change is being driven by the ease with which users can access the hugely popular social media networks like Facebook and Twitter, coupled with cheaper and more extensive mobile internet coverage. So expect continued growth in the use of "smart mobile devices".

Recent statistics suggest that a surprising amount of Christmas shopping has been done on smart phones in 2010 and this trend will continue in the new year. All of the big players like Google, Facebook and Twitter are pouring resources in to the provision of mobile internet tools.

For example, I expect that the arrival of Facebook Deals in the UK in early 2011 will see many more consumer-facing businesses using platforms like this to offer incentives on mobile devices to entice customers to their shops and stores.

As a result, we'll see more and more of these ...
QR code for Italic Marketing

Not sure what that is ? It's called a QR Code and soon I will be posting a new article on this fascinating topic, showing how they can be used in conjunction with smart phones, to boost business on the High Street.

But of course, there will be other things that we just won't see coming. It promises to be an interesting year.

Let me close by wishing all of you well for 2011.

2011 graphic: Billy Alexander
Photo of iPhones: Salvatore Vuono / FreeDigitalPhotos.net


Email marketing is still with us !

Email envelope

Yes, news of the death of email marketing has been greatly exaggerated.

Yes, it's true that Social Media Marketing, the new kid on the internet marketing block, is rightly seen as hot right now ... and at Italic Marketing, we're big fans. But email still has a part to play. And I'm beginning to suspect that it may still be the best marketing channel for some audiences. Why ?

Well, I met an old acquaintance a few weeks ago and was updating him on my business exploits since I'd last seen him. This covered a lot of ground, so I deliberately didn't dazzle him with jargon, and I only mentioned social media networks in general terms. He's an intelligent, professional guy, and although he does use computers, both at work and at home, he's not what you'd call a technology geek and as far as I know, isn't on any networks himself.

He listened politely as I described what I was up to and then stirred his coffee. He squinted at me and asked, "So do you use this social media-Facebook-Twitter stuff with your internet marketing ?"

"Yes ! " I enthused, thinking that I'd underestimated how much he was up to speed on social media networks.

"Ach, I can't be bothered with all that stuff," he said, "I can handle email, but all that other stuff ... ?" He made a face and sipped his coffee. Then it seemed another thought hit him, because now he positively scowled.

"Not the flipping spam !" he added. "But if it's someone I know, somebody that I've done business with or asked for information from, that'll do me just fine. I can handle that."

I remembered his comments the next time I sat in front of my personal inbox. I realised that much as I enjoy the immediacy of social networks, I still get a lot of specific, tailored information from email.

So I started to do my own little straw poll - totally unscientific, of course. And I began to realise that there are more people like my friend around ... people that perhaps are not comfortable with Facebook, Twitter or whatever, but who have grown-up using email and are comfortable with messages in that medium (in moderation, always).

The next day, I got what has become a regular monthly email from a local restaurant whose email newsletter I had subscribed to a few weeks before. This month's edition had a "2 for 1" voucher in it.

I smiled. Not just because it's a fine restaurant and I will soon enjoy sharing another meal there, but also because this is exactly the kind of thing that is so easy to do with a fully automated Customer Acquisition, Retention and Referral System.

"Somebody has got the message !" I muttered.

Indeed, the death of email marketing has been greatly exaggerated !

Italic Marketing can advise you on how to use email marketing in your business. To find out more, call us on 0117 911 4187, or contact us here.

Email graphic: iker at sxc.hu


The Social Media Marketing Jungle

Evidence in favour of businesses using social media marketing accumulates day by day.


Postscript: Even since I had the video above produced, I have seen more and more evidence supporting the value of social media marketing, the latest coming recently with the famous Gartner consulting group concluding that, to some extent, the majority of consumers rely on social media networks to guide their buying decisions. Is it any wonder that the big names in British retailing have been using it for quite some time ?

Whether you, as an individual, like or use any of these networks or not, your customers and prospects do and they are using them more and more ... and they will generate business as they do.

Marketing is moving online ...are you ?


Opportunistic Social Media Marketing

As I write this, the longest tournament tennis match in history is still under way at Wimbledon. Play was suspended late last night at 59 games all in the final set due to bad light, the exact same thing having occurred 24 hours before !

Although it may be all over by the time you read this, my radio reports that the heroes of this marathon, France's Nicolas Mahut and the USA's John Isner are now standing at 68 games all and the match has taken around eleven hours ... so far !

This marathon has been jumped on by a well known battery manufacturer who is well known for their endearing rabbit. I wonder how many prizes they will have to give away before it's all over !

But it's a great example of how to use social media platforms - in this case, it's Twitter - to engage with potential customers.

UPDATE: Mahut's batteries finally gave out and John Isner has just won, 70 games to 68 in the last set !

(No more bunnies then !)


The 7 Deadly Website Sins

How many of The 7 Deadly Website Sins is your web site guilty of ?

Unfortunately, many business owners commit at least one of these, usually more, when setting up their web site. Result ? Loss of traffic, sales and profits.

The good news is that once you know what to look for, you can correct these mistakes  ... and then reap the benefits. So to help you to do this, we have prepared a short video that spills the beans on two of these common errors.

The even better news is that we have also prepared a short report to go with it that tells you about all 7 of the worst mistakes that web site owners make. Best of all, it's available at no charge.

But it's only available via our Facebook page.