All posts by James Gurd

James is an Ecommerce consultant and owner of Digital Juggler, an E-commerce and Digital Marketing consultancy helping retailers develop, execute and evolve E-commerce strategies and optimise their digital channel. With a background as a Head of E-commerce and also agency side as Head of Client Development, he has experienced life on both sides of the fence. He has helped companies like A&N Media, Sweaty Betty and Smythson to manage RFP/ITT proposals. and been lead consultant on high profile projects for Econsultancy, Salmon and Greenwich Consulting. He is a guest blogger for Econsultancy, for whom he also writes best practice guides, regularly contributes to industry events and co-hosts #ecomchat, a weekly Twitter chat for e-commerce knowledge sharing. For e-commerce advice and support, connect with James on LinkedIn and Twitter.

Social media strategy and planning essentials

This is part 9 of my Smart Insights 12 part social media series. In the last part we looked at reporting for social media; in this blog, I discuss what tools you can use to help plan and manage your social campaigns. Please note that this list isn’t exhaustive. There’s a wide range of tools available, and each person I know uses a different mix depending on business needs. This blog aims to show you the types of tool you need to evaluate; you should then do your own research to find out what gives you're the functionality you need.

Measurement tools

Let’s start by getting the fundamentals put in place. To do social media intelligently, you need to underpin your planning and decision making with accurate data.

Google Analytics campaign tracking

My first port of call is always web analytics + URL campaign tracking. I’m going to…

Social media strategy and planning essentials -  Recommended dashboards and tools for creating social media marketing reports for different reporting periods

This is part 8 of my Smart Insights 12 part social media series. In the last part we looked at resource planning for social media; in this blog, I discuss what data you should capture and report to measure the impact of your social media marketing campaigns. To frame the conversation, I’ll cover four different type of report: Daily dashboard Weekly KPI report Monthly roll-up report Quarterly strategy review

Reporting scope and goals

It’s important to understand the context, and limitations, for reporting. The data you have access to depends upon your business resources and scale of social activity. For example, many small businesses don’t have subscriptions to social media monitoring tools like Audiense and Buzzsumo, so won’t be able to include data from these in their regular reports. Focus on what data you…

Social media strategy and planning essentials series

This is part 7 of my Smart Insights 12 part social media series. In the last part we looked at aligning social media with other marketing channels; in this blog, I discuss what resources you need to manage your social media marketing and how you scale a social team sensibly. To frame the conversation, you need to find answers to the following questions: How many people do you need and in which roles? What business processes are required? What KPIs should you use and what resources do you need to measure them? What tech and tools are required for your social media plan? How do these resource demands change in the next few years?

Approaches to resourcing

There are two main ways to plan your resourcing: Bottom up You’re governed by the resource currently at your disposal, so you shape your scope of work around this. For example,…

Recommended design patterns and best practices for your Basket/Shopping Bag

Here is the 6th in my series of posts on recommended Ecommerce page layouts. We've been working our way down the funnel, so now we move from product pages to improving your Basket or Shopping Bag Page. Given it's the launchpad to checkout, it plays a vital driver in pushing the buyer down the conversion path. As with checkout, the basket page has to serve two user types: 1. New users: Reduce barriers to purchase and persuade them to trust your brand and website, with their payment. 2. Returning users: Provide a quick transition to check-out, summarising key information which commit buyers to purchase. If you work in an ecommerce team at a retailer, or are involved in design for your client’s accounts, then I hope these templates and tips will guide you along the design/re-evaluation process to maximise results for your pages.

Key Ecommerce Basket Page…

Recommended design patterns and best practices for retail Search Results Page

This is the 5th in the series looking at key Ecommerce pages, we hope it gives you some ideas for testing and improving your on-site search page. It's a key page on retail sites, since a high proportion of sessions can involve a search and typically average order is higher when a search takes place. In the context of different types of user journeys, this page can sit in different places in the conversion path. It may support early stage research to help visitors learn more about your different product categories or services or it can be an end-stage conversion driver to match people to specific products as they search for specific product names, types and product labels/SKUs.

Key Ecommerce Search Results Page Wireframe requirements

This template provides an outline of the core elements, with colour coding definitions referenced in the Guide. UX and UI designs can vary across…

Recommended best practices for Product Listing Pages

This is the third in my series of posts to share best practices on design and user experience for retail sites. My post aims to give you some tips to consider for testing improvements and designing your Product Listing Page (PLP).  For each site page template type I have created a wireframe summary of a typical responsive site layout for desktop or tablet rendering showing key design elements, to give you a toolkit to review and optimize your pages. If you work in design or merchandising for a retailer, or are involved in design at an agency for retail client’s accounts, then I hope these templates and tips will help you along the design/re-evaluation process to maximise results from your pages. For retail sites, PLP pages sit within the category hierarchy and provide a list of all products available within a chosen category. For large catalogue retailers, these are usually…

Recommended design patterns and best practices for retail Home Pages

This is the first in a series of posts from me in which I hope to give you ideas to consider for testing improvements to page elements on Ecommerce sites following emerging best practices. In each post I will provide a wireframe summary of a typical layout showing key design elements, to give you a toolkit to review and optimize your pages. In this first guide, we have focused on Desktop and tablet design and merchandising elements since in today's era of mobile responsive and adaptive web designs, the smartphone experience is usually simplified in style and content - so it needs separate treatment which we cover in our mobile marketing guide. If you work in an ecommerce team at a retailer, or are involved in design for your client's accounts, then I hope these templates and tips will guide you along the design/re-evaluation process to…

Social media strategy and planning essentials series

This is part 5 of my Smart Insights 12 part social media series. In the last part, we looked at the role of organic vs paid social media and touched on the importance of content. In this blog, I discuss a sensible way to approach content planning for your social media channels. Social media networks support multiple content formats and there has been rapid growth in the use of interactive formats, for example, carousel ads on Facebook. This flexibility of format (text, image, multi-image, video, carousel etc.) gives marketers the ability to experiment with different types of content to gauge how best to attract and engage social users. If people are the heartbeat of social media, content is the blood. It’s your content that people see and respond to, and that communicates your values and messages. But what content works? How do you plan what to…

Social media strategy and planning essentials

First let’s answer the question, “What is a social media strategy?” A social media strategy defines how your organisation will use social media to achieve its communications aims and the supporting platform and tools it will use to achieve this. At a basic level it’s a simple statement of intent, outlining the goals and measurable objectives for using social media, and the target outcomes you want to achieve. It does this in the context of the overall business and comms plan, so that social media isn’t in a silo but working in parallel with other channels. It isn’t a detailed plan of action – you’ll also need a plan but without a clear strategy, how do you prioritise the activities for a plan? Think strategy first, plan second. Even if you’re not actively involved in social…

Social media strategy and planning essentials series

This is part 6 of my Smart Insights 12 part social media series. In the last part we looked at the role of content in social media; in this blog, I discuss how social needs to work as part of your overall marketing plan, not in isolation.

The role of a marketing calendar

Most organisations have a marketing calendar that outlines the key campaigns for the year, typically broken down into monthly cycles. As with the content calendar, I discussed in the previous article, this helps define the big campaigns, the key messages, promotions, CTAs and the channels through which they will be delivered. Social media needs to align with this calendar. Typically the most successful campaigns are executed across multiple channels simultaneously, promoting the same core message, albeit with a slightly different execution in each channel e.g. paid search campaigns typically use product and offer…

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