My digital principles
I believe that strong, well-reasoned and logical decisions hold the key to successful digital communications. To achieve success means to have demonstrably understood your audience, and their goals. Digital is a journey which evolves and changes over time to adapt to new technologies and discoveries.
Below are some of the guiding principles I’ve developed to ensure continued success and high-quality work across the digital activities projects I’m involved in.
We’re all digital natives now, living our lives online. In our own way we all know why a digital product or service is good, bad or indifferent. There’s no reason why digital can’t be in the DNA of nearly all organisational goals or priorities; the key to achieving this lies in understanding objectives and adapting to changing scenarios.
More fact, less opinion
Identifying strong evidence and being led by sound reasoning is vital to making the correct decisions. The alternative is to wade aimlessly through projects in the vague hope of being gifted a digital epiphany. Facts should not be read blindly, but ignoring hard evidence and logical conclusions in favour of the HIPPO (Highest Paid Person’s Opinion) should be strongly resisted. No matter what the pay grade of the person signing off on a project, the facts are what matters most.
You can’t manage what you can’t measure
Digital isn’t just about achieving your goals, it’s about being able to measure them too – and meaningfully. Digital activities that aren’t able to be measured robustly should be treated with suspicion. If you can’t effectively understand the impact of your efforts, you can’t make claims to their success. You’re also unable to adapt your tactics if you don’t know what the impact of your activity was in the first place.
Analysis is nothing without creation
All the analytics reports and Google Search Console tools in the world won’t give you an impactful and intelligent digital marketing product unless you implement your findings. I’m against measuring digital activity just for the sake of doing so. The end goal is a successful outcome, the vehicle for this is your digital product. Analysis is not the product; it’s the map to help you reach your destination.
Specialism in generalism
I’m unashamedly a digital generalist. I love the interconnected nature of digital; how strong knowledge of analytics can produce findings that trigger a strong creative idea that can be developed through solid digital project management skills and executed through elegant editing and design. While it’s not possible to excel in every discipline, a person’s digital skills are weakened greatly if their knowledge gaps blind them from making informed decisions. The understanding of the pieces are what helps you to connect the whole.
These are just some of the principles I work by, there are many more methods I use and identify with. Below are examples of some of the projects I’ve been involved with (and how).
Providing personalised cancer information for patients
I worked with the Cancer Information Team at Macmillan to create a tool enabling website visitors to access personalised cancer information specific to their time of need. Users are invited to answer four quick questions relating to their current situation (for example; awaiting test results, just been diagnosed, in treatment etc), the type of cancer they have, their work situation, and whether they have children. From the responses given, the user then sees personalised text fragments in a results page, which steer them towards the most appropriate support.
Because people who have received a cancer diagnosis often feel overwhelmed at both the news and the amount of information available online, providing more tailored information and signposting towards support services helps to produce better outcomes. Deployed in late 2019, the tool has significantly increased the number of people receiving physical, support after diagnosis.
Relaunch of British Heart Foundation’s Healthcare Professionals content
I collaborated closely with British Heart Foundation’s Healthcare Professionals team to relaunch their website content following an in-depth strategic review which uncovered fundamental issues preventing the user group from completing tasks on the website. This was achieved through analysis of Google Analytics stats and user feedback. By conducting a Treejack survey and agreeing a new taxonomy, the website section was reordered through a new information architecture to produce higher engagement levels, increased conversions, and better all-around user experience.
British Heart Foundation Google Grants
I was tasked with producing higher engagement and performance for British Heart Foundation’s Google Grants Pro account, by overhauling the account structure and keyword bidding strategy, and collaborating with content teams to improve conversion rates for key user journeys. I also produced tailored reports through DataStudio and DoubleClick’s Executive Reports to continuously monitor and compare performance to improve outcomes over time. These methods have helped produce 10%+ Click Through Rates and significant increases in meaningful conversions year-on-year.
Relaunch of the Mencap website
The Mencap website relaunched in Drupal 8 in June 2016 after a 12-month long gestation period. I supported the business case for the new website, and was involved in co-coordinating the content migration plan, information architecture, user experience, user testing, and eventual roll out of the now fully mobile optimised site. The site grows in strength and influence, providing a free must-have resource for people with a learning disability, and their families and carers.
Relaunch of the Mencap recruitment microsite
The previous Mencap recruitment portal was ageing, had a poor user experience and high drop off rate for people completing applications. The site was relaunched in October 2015 and now processes tens of thousands of applications a year with a much higher conversion rate for completions. I worked on briefing for the design, user testing and overall user journey to create a better user experience.
Launch of the Rebuilding Shattered Lives microsite
The homelessness charity St Mungo’s launched a campaign to address the serious issue of women’s homelessness and the fact that women who become homeless on average stay homeless much longer than men. I worked on the launch of the microsite which served as an evidence gathering tool for professionals to submit best practice and advice. The results of which were turned into a campaigning report to help mend the lives of women affected by homelessness.
Learning Disability Week
Learning Disability Week is the national week for learning disability issues. I’ve project managed the content gathering, editing and publishing of content 2014-16, of which each has been more successful than the last from a digital engagement point of view. The focus has been on working with stakeholders to find strong stories and imagery to support the week’s aims, and coordinating digital efforts across the organisation to deliver an impactful week online and raise awareness.
Google GrantsPro application
Mencap had a Google Grants account with an aspiration to achieve GrantsPro status by reaching the required 2% Click Through Rate across all campaign activities. I managed the Google Grants account, with support from an agency, to pause under-performing activity, pour resource into optimising successful campaigns and ensuring keyword opportunities were maximised. After writing the application, Mencap passed the application process first time in October 2015.