Engage - Plug and Play
Welcome to Engage, your portal to better marketing

by Brad Girtz

Search engines and businesses have long been in love with reviews. They help new customers trust you and provide a valuable piece of data on how well you deliver goods or services. Google even uses online reviews as part of their rankings algorithm. With star ratings or other ranking systems, reviews also provide a shorthand to help consumers choose where to spend their money.

With this in mind, which review service should you use? Since there are currently no sites that review review sites, (million pound idea?) it can be very hard to understand which reviews you should be aiming to get. Before you slam your laptop closed in despair and move on to something else, let us help you find the best review site for you.

Paid or Free?

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by Emma Moody

Online business is booming. In 2017, Ofcom reported that 76% of adults owned a smartphone, making smartphones the most widely owned internet accessible device. Consequently, it is not surprising that the number of mobile searches now exceeds those made on desktop. We’re in a changing world. Our smartphones have become a part of everyday life and the online world is having to adjust… and fast.

I’m sure that nobody will be shocked to hear that Google’s influence on the online world is vast and far reaching. With Google leading the mobile first initiative, encouraging secure and responsive browsing, as well as providing local search with results geared towards mobile users. In the new year, Google revealed their next step towards fulfilling their mobile first goal. In July this year we will see mobile site speed become its own official influencer in the Google algorithm.

So how will this affect you?

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by Brad Girtz

Finding the right place to maximise your advertising dollar used to be easy. You either bought space in a publication your customers liked or you advertised on a billboard near a busy street. Now your advertising budget could go to any one of hundreds of online advertising platforms. Choosing which of those platforms is right for you can be a daunting prospect if you are not a seasoned online advertiser. Thankfully you are currently reading the Plug & Play blog and we are seasoned online advertisers. So let’s break this down for you so you can go back to running your successful business rather than worrying about online advertising.

Your Customers Know What They Want

The biggest player in the market is Google. Have you heard of the 800 pound Gorilla in the Room? Well they are more like King Kong on the Empire State Building. Google are great at a number of different things so they will most likely be your first port of call. If you are a traditional service business or you have a well defined product, Google Search advertising is your best bet (Bing also offer a similar service). You can very effectively target people when they are out there looking for exactly what you sell.

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by Krystyna Coyle

Branding is a tricky exercise. You want a brand that is respectable and memorable for all the right reasons but there is no clear roadmap to get you there. At Plug & Play we are branding experts so we decided to share some interesting branding facts to help you get your creative juices flowing. So sit back relax and enjoy some branding based fun.

  • Don’t skimp on budgeting for branding or it will come back to bite you.
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by Gabrielle Richardson

I started at Plug and Play almost exactly 5 years ago, as an Account Executive. Now I’m our Operations Manager and split my time between scheduling our resources internally and managing client projects. The variety of different projects and clients keeps things interesting. Our ever changing industry means that our solutions are constantly evolving and there’s always more to learn.

My day starts with a strong cup of tea whilst checking my inbox, going through emails and responding to any queries that have come in overnight. A big part of my job is keeping on top of emails, ensuring that everyone gets a quick reply and that client requests are sent to the right member of the team to action.

Our workload is split into three; current web projects, digital marketing for retained clients and ad hoc pieces of work for clients who have a website that we support and maintain. Scheduling this in with our team and keeping clients up to date requires a lot of juggling! For me, this means that the morning is usually busy checking in with the team, making sure everyone is on track for the day and knows what they are due to deliver on.

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by Brad Girtz

Google has begun testing a new feature in their SERPs. They now include a “people also searched for” section bellow an individual link in the SERPs. This becomes available when you click on a link and then hit ‘back’ to return to the SERP.

This new feature is similar to the traditional “people also ask” section added at the top of some SERPs.

rich snippets

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by Emma Moody

Update: The poultry panic that was #KFCCrisis has subsided. Chicken is back on the menu and the fried paradise that is KFC is no longer operating on a wing and a prayer... without the wings. Thankfully the company that strikes fear in the hearts of  chickens and heart disease sufferers had one more PR coop. They released this update on the weekend. 

KFC update

One can only hope they learned a lesson about depending on a single supplier, don't put all your eggs in one basket. Ok we are out of puns, we promise. 

It may have caught your attention that KFC aren’t having the best of weeks. However, their PR wizards are doing anything but winging their communications. This is plainly any marketers nightmare and big fry marketing teams work tirelessly when planning their campaigns to avoid this kind of disaster. And yet, KFC’s reaction?

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by Emma Moody

For most online businesses, there are two main ways to receive an inbound lead: a contact form enquiry from the website or phone call. However our experience as an agency has shown us that while almost 100% of our new customers track their contact form enquiries online, fewer than 5% track their inbound calls. So why is this? Well, call tracking is one of those technologies that people usually don’t realise is relevant to them. Many of our new customers report feeling that their business is too small to be tracking calls and that the costs outweigh the benefits, especially when contact form tracking is free.

call tracking

As advocates of call tracking, even in small businesses, Plug & Play believe that the insight gained by tracking all inbound leads by far outweighs the monthly fee. By the end of this article, you’ll be armed with all of the information you need to make a decision on whether call tracking is for you and your company.

So first thing’s first… what is call tracking?

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by Brad Girtz

If you have never worked at an agency before you might not know quite what to expect. This is especially true for graduates or people just joining the workforce. With that in mind, Plug and Play have come together to give you a window into the life of a digital agency employee. Think of us as your agency shirpa; we’ll help you understand what life is really like in an agency.

Flat Corporate Structure

The first thing most people notice is the flat corporate structure. Unlike many more traditional businesses, a digital agency doesn't have much of a corporate hierarchy. You usually find there are a few directors, a few managers and then everyone else is on the same level. This makes Plug and Play, along with most other agencies, very nimble. We can adapt quickly and we don’t need a big book of rules and regulations to keep the company operating. It also means if an employee wants to change something or try a new approach they can.

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by Gabrielle Richardson

Getting your first job out of university can be really tough. Not only does it seem like all the fun has come to an end and suddenly you’ve entered the real world, finding the right job can be a daunting and difficult experience. If you know you want to work in a digital agency, chances are you’ve got some good reasons why: you’ve got a particular skill set, you’re fascinated by the industry or you enjoy a fast paced environment and working with people. It can seem difficult to get your first foot in the door and get your ideal graduate job, but the good news is that recruiting at a digital agency is really hard too. Our straightforward tips will help you stand out from the crowd and secure that all important first job.

Having a good record of work experience is crucial. When you’re at university, try to get internships or work experience placements during the holidays. Not only does it give you a lot more to talk about on your CV than just the title of your Dissertation, work experience is an important networking opportunity and literally gives you experience of work. It sounds obvious, but for a lot of graduates, knowing what to expect and how to behave at their first “proper” job can be a shock. Having a strong record of work experience shows employers that you’re proactive, focused and keen to learn.

If you’re sending your CV to an agency or applying for a job, include a covering letter. Try to find out the name of the person who’ll be reviewing CVs and address it directly to them. The covering letter doesn’t have to be War and Peace but an introduction into who you are, why you want to work at that agency and the skills and experience you have can make a big impact.

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by Krystyna Coyle

The majority of us grew up without an education in code and digital marketing. So now as a business owner, you know it is imperative that you have a website in order to stay up to date and and ahead of the competition. You know that your website has the potential to be a valuable source of traffic and ultimately sales.

Technology is changing exponentially and the pace of change is relentless. With that comes differences in user behaviour, Google and Facebook algorithms, design, technology (voice search in 2018 is set to be huge and a game changer) and competition is rife. For your business to survive you need to adapt. In order to thrive you need to drive your team to get in front of your customers, innovate and offer an edge that your competitors cannot.

Which begs the question; with regards to your website, digital marketing, design, brand, content and user experience should you do it yourself? Should you hire a freelancer? Hire a full time employee? Or should you commission an agency?

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by Brad Girtz

Event tracking is an important part of any good digital marketing strategy. Knowing what your customers are up to on your site can help you improve your business, earn you more money and give you great insights into your audience. As more sites add ecommerce, tracking will become ever more essential. With that in mind, let's examine how you can get started tracking your website users.

When most people start out tracking they are usually looking for something quick and easy without a lot of setup. Something between an enterprise level system that requires a team to install and physically holding down your customers while you fit them with a tracking collar and ear tag.

Goal Tracking

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by Brad Girtz

I am the first one to admit that Digital Marketing has way too much confusing jargon. We have basically made up our own nerdy language. It has got to the point where we can have a conversation amongst ourselves that no outsider can understand (or maybe we are just so annoying people ignore our nerdy chatter). With that in mind, and in the interest of educating those outside of the digital marketing geek community, I have compiled this jargon busting list. This digital diatribe should help you sift your way through a conversation about digital marketing, or at least fake it well enough so as not to frighten the next herd of nerds you encounter.

301 This is a permanent redirect of traffic from one URL to another. A 301 is created using the htaccess file.

302 A temporary version of the 301 redirect also done using the htaccess file.

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by James Ward

While WordPress hooks do offer a great deal of flexibility in customising core functionality, there are limitations to using them:

  • You are at the mercy of documentation and naming convention: if either of these are not taken into careful consideration it can lead to confusion and irritation as you try to figure out why something isn't working the way you expect it to. We've all had those times where a hook doesn't fire when we're expecting it to - or maybe not at all. Most of the time it's not down to our code but rather the miscommunication of the name of the hook and its accompanying documentation.
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by Tim Morris

There was once a time before Google Chrome. To refresh your memory that time was 2007 - Steve Jobs launched the first iPhone and Leon Jackson was X-Factor champion (no, me neither). 2008 saw not only the rise of Alexandra Burke to the X-Factor throne but the launch of Google Chrome and within five years it was the world’s most popular browser.

One of the great things about Chrome is the wide variety of extensions available in the Chrome Web Store, but with so many extensions it can be hard to find the good amongst the bad. So in the spirit of sharing, here are some of our favourite Quality Assurance (QA) related Chrome extensions.

Completing form data

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by Gabrielle Richardson

At Plug and Play, we typically charge 15% of the total project fees for a dedicated project manager to oversee your project. When prospective clients see this on a proposal document they often say that they are happy to liaise with each member of the team as and when they need to and don’t need the extra resource. We are regularly asked: ‘Is Project Management Worth It?’ As Operations Manager at Plug and Play, I obviously think it is.

project management

Unifying Stakeholders

Even the smallest, simplest website has a lot of moving parts. There’s the website structure, the way it looks, the way it works, what it says and how it performs. That means that at the minimum, a designer, a developer, a digital marketing expert and most importantly, you, are involved in getting the website live.

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by Brad Girtz

If you are building a new website you have almost certainly heard of SEO. Search Engine Optimisation is crucial to help your customers find that shiny new website you are so proud of. So before you press the button to make your new site live, take some time to go through our complete SEO checklist for new and rebuilt sites.

This is a comprehensive guide to everything you should do before you launch to make your life after launch more profitable.

Do Your Research

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by Brad Girtz

Your Google AdWords account should be like a great dog. You give it money and it fetches you customers. Unfortunately, some AdWords Accounts are more similar to a dog that tips over the bins and hides all of your left shoes. These accounts waste money while providing little to no reward. So how do you figure out if your account is fetching your slippers or plotting to kill the postman?

Google AdWords Audit

Tracking & Remarketing

The first step is to check for tracking and remarketing. If you don’t know what these are here is a quick explanation. Tracking uses cookies to help you understand your customers behaviours. When setup properly tracking allows you to see what channels are responsible for sales as well as how customers interact with your site. Remarketing is the process of using your tracking to show ads to people who have already interacted in some way with your site.

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