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Lots of jobs at a growing Focus! See https://t.co/j4SZgV0BZf for more and help make great digital! #jobs #bristol, posted 3 days ago

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How to get a bullseye when targeting your email broadcasts!

How to get a bullseye when targeting your email broadcasts!

We've been conducting some in depth research here at Focus HQ. Having studied the success of some of our email broadcast campaigns we have the following top tips to get the most out of your email campaigns:

1) HTML emails as opposed to text only emails are 10 times more likely to have their links clicked. So get creative with some graphic design!

2) Generally emails with subject titles that contain 'Top 10 offers' or 'Top 20 offers' score low views - it just sounds like a lot of information, people can't face reading a long email. Keep it short and sweet!

3) Emails with 'exclusive offers' or discounts in the subject titles tend to be more successful. Everyone likes to think they're getting a bargain!

Now we've armed you with these top tips you're ready to aim and fire your email campaigns! Of course if you want some help with an email campaign, we're always available for a chat!




IE9 Launch - is it time for you to break up with your browser?

IE9 Launch - is it time for you to break up with your browser?

A browser can be like that comfy pair of old slippers, it’s your friend, to take your walks around the internet in. It can be hard to break the habit of those old comfy slippers though, and try a new pair of slippers, even if they may allow you to walk a bit faster and trip you up less. You might not know your way round in them so well at first, they might not be the right fit for what you need or they could be a great improvement; maybe those old slippers are holding you back? With the launch of Internet Explorer 9 last week it’s time for us all to consider if our current browser really is the best fit.

For those less technical savvy amongst you, you may be shocked to know that there is more than one way to view the internet. You may still be using Internet Explorer thinking that that is as good as the internet can get, but let me introduce you to my friends, Google Chrome, Firefox and Safari. These different browsers offer different functionality some are better for macs (Safari) some are faster (Chrome) and some are safer (Firefox). 

Internet Explorer has dominated the browser market for many years; in 2002 95% of web users were browsing through it, now that’s more like 45-50%. This is because the browser market has revolutionised in the last couple of years with the invention of browsers like Chrome and Firefox which offer faster web browsing, better functionality and a more intuitive web browsing experience. Internet Explorer 9 is Microsoft’s latest offering that is trying to win back its market share. It offers integration with Windows 7 to make browsing your favourite sites easier, and gives larger screen space to site contents by reducing the tool bars. 

It’s free to download any of these browsers, so why not find out which is the right fit for you? 




Opening the door to the new Trade Store!

Opening the door to the new Trade Store!

It's been a very busy month for us all at Focus Towers! We've had a number of client websites going live and excitingly today we have launched the Trade Store for our long term client Barriers Direct. This has been a great project for us to sink our teeth into; it's given us the challenge of creating a sub brand which is part of the Barriers Direct family whilst having a sense of being its own entity. We've also had to tailor the site to a very specific audience making it as useful as possible for our target audience to get the service they need. The technical demands of the project were also high - grouping all the many, many products into easy to navigate categories was a great challenge. We're really pleased with the result! Take a look and let us know your thoughts.

Created on Tuesday March 22 2011 02:24 PM


Tags: website blog bristol focus social-media trade-store construction site-launch


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Twitter - 5 years old today!

Twitter - 5 years old today!

Today sees Twitter turn 5 years old and with it celebrate a meteoric rise to fame and popularity. Currently 1 billion tweets are being sent a week, indicating that the social media era is definitely here to stay. This fascination with the ability to broadcast ourselves to the world has changed the way we interact with each other. We can't seem to get enough social media, if we're not tweeting our latest thoughts or facebooking our friends we're watching blockbusters about the creation of our favourite social network.

It is a fact: Facebook and Twitter have defined a generation. Facebook and Twitter have a magic formula which attracts thousands of people. People who could become potential customers, there is a huge opportunity for small businesses to tap into that market through the platform that these social networks provide. Social media has replaced print advertisements, with an estimated 85% of small businesses launching social media campaigns this year.This new form of communication offers a way for businesses to personify themselves whilse using micro blogging as a sales and marketing tool.

We can see where this is going and are already doing social media campaigns for some of our clients. If you think social media could make a big change to your business we'd be happy to put together a social media strategy and implement it for you, don't hesitate to contact us.

Created on Monday March 21 2011 10:44 AM


Tags: youth young-people facebook social-media twitter socialmedia facebook


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Thinking Ahead!

Thinking Ahead!

The studio has been very busy recently wrapping up some new projects, one of which is Thinking Ahead - created on behalf of the Neurological Alliance of Ireland.

NAI is the national advocacy umbrella for neurological care in Ireland, made up of over thirty statutory organisations working with people who have neurological conditions. The new web site was published in time for Brain Awareness Week, running from the 7th March 2011.

The web site includes a facility which allows users to find their local TD and send them an email or letter - lobbying for their support towards the campaign - and already over one thousand people have signed up.




 

Simon Newing
Simon

Created on Tuesday March 15 2011 04:49 PM


Tags: website charity ireland new-web-site


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Hello from the newbie!!

Hello from the newbie!!

Hi everyone, my name is Kate and I'm very excited to be the new Account Executive at Focus! I've just moved to Bristol, after working in London since graduating last summer, and I'm very happy to be a part of this exciting digital agency! I'm looking forward to getting stuck into all their latest projects! 

Created on Monday March 14 2011 12:04 PM


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Puzzled Out!

Puzzled Out!

Puzzled Out, a tool for surveying young people about their experiences with mental health services is now up and running.

The site's main aim is to give young people an accessible platform to share their opinions about the services they have received and to feed back on what they would like to see changed. It's a first for us and will hopefully play a pivotal role in the way that mental health services are delivered to young people, by asking them what they need. We worked hard with CERNIS to ensure that these young people were involved at every stage of the design process and to make sure that the site was as easy to use as possible, whether you're 8 or 80!

Part of the challenge involved the building of a bespoke surveying tool, that would not only look attractive to those using it, but also deliver measurable results and reporting that could be segmented and interpreted by CERNIS. It's a fantastic tool that we're really proud of, and it looks pretty good too!
 

Created on Wednesday March 09 2011 04:50 PM


Tags: web-development new-web-site youth young-people online-tool


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Studio Report: Quantum Multi-sites

Studio Report: Quantum Multi-sites

This is part of an occasional series of posts on what we're working on in the studio at the moment.

We're presently expanding the facilities in the next version of Quantum - our website management system - to support content that's spread over multiple sites. We've noticed an increasingly common requirement from clients for managing multiple websites through a single administration facility. Sometimes, from the users's viewpoint, these websites will be sections of a website - e.g. separately themed sections of the main site - and sometimes the websites will appear to be entirely separate - perhaps as one main site, and several "micro-sites".

We've always supported content management on many sites through a single Quantum administration interface - administrators then have the advantage of only a single username and password to manage, for example. What we've not supported until now is entries - whether they be blog articles or events in a calendar - being shown on any combination of these sites.

Now, if "Main Site", "Microsite A" and "Microsite B" all have a blog, administrators will be able to post one blog article, and ask for it to appear on any individual site, all sites, or any combination of the sites.

The best thing is that this support is baked across all administration sections - so it supports blog articles, events, news sections, polls - or anything else Quantum supports on your site.

If you're interested in this new feature - or if you'd like us to investigate adding a blog or another section to one of your existing micro-sites - please do get in touch with us, and we'd be pleased to talk to you further.

Neil Smith
Neil

Created on Monday January 17 2011 06:44 PM


Tags: quantum


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All Wrapped Up

2011 has started with a bang in the office with lots of new projects kicking off - amongst them a brand new web site for Sharpak, one of the UK's leading plastic packaging manufacturers.

Sharpak, who's clients include Sainsburys, Tesco and Asda, were recently acquired by French company Groupe Guillin and this is the first web site within the group to get an overhaul. We've created a fresher, cleaner design and an improved product enquiry system.

More news to come on our other work very soon - including three new web sites for our friends in Dublin, the Multiple Sclerosis Society of Ireland and new digital marketing campaigns for both Scottish and Southern Energy and Marks and Spencer.

 

Simon Newing
Simon

Created on Friday January 14 2011 05:40 PM


Tags: website new-web-site


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Google to drop Chrome's support for popular video format

Google to drop Chrome's support for popular video format

Google announced on Monday that their increasingly popular browser Chrome will be dropping native support for the H.264 video format.

As the latest versions of browsers are being released there is increasing support for native video playback, ie. users will no longer need proprietary plugins such as Flash or Silverlight to watch video on the web. This means each browser has to support certain video formats themselves. The battle at the moment is between the proprietary H.264 (heavily supported by Apple and now Microsoft) and open-source WebM / Ogg Theroa formats (supported by Mozilla and now Google).

From the Chromium blog:

Though H.264 plays an important role in video, as our goal is to enable open innovation, support for the codec will be removed and our resources directed towards completely open codec technologies.

At focus we think open-source is great, in fact we build our web sites on open-source technologies every day. However, we think this move by Google (who's motto is "Don't be evil" by the way) is bad for a number of reasons.

H.264 is an established format. Millions of mobile devices support hardware acceleration of H.264 video and there are millions of videos already on the web encoded in the format (including every video on the Google owned Youtube).

Users are still stuck using Flash. Any Chrome user trying to view an H.264 video will have to use Flash as a 'middleman', slowing the process of moving away from Flash to HTML5 / native browser support for video.

This isn't about enabling open innovation at all. This is about competiton with Apple in the mobile market and trying to make life as difficult as possible for them. Which is fine in itself, but not when it's being diguised as openness.

There are licensing question marks around the WebM format. Promoted as completely open-source, there are reports that the WebM format may have licensing issues of it's own.

In the end I think despite both H.264 & Flash being proprietary technologies, H.264 is the better more transparent one for the user. The licensing cost is paid by the Browser vendors (let's face it, Google, Apple, Microsoft can afford it) not the developer or end user.

Created on Thursday January 13 2011 11:45 AM


Tags: web webm google chrome video


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