5 super simple ways to optimise your website forms

Whether it’s the checkout or submitting an enquiry, forms are often one of the most important parts of your website when it comes to conversions. In spite of this, we find they’re often overlooked, rarely getting much attention once live.

If you’re reading this and trying to cast your mind back to when you last looked at your forms, this is your lucky day! We’ve got five (fairly) straightforward ways you can fix up your forms right away.

1. Provide the right keyboard

Let’s ease in with a nice easy one.

When building a form, you’ll have the option to provide a user with a few keyboard layouts for when they’re viewing on mobile. It will amaze you how often the incorrect layout is provided. And yet, this is something really simple. There are a few different keyboard inputs to choose from and it’s a really nice way to make filling out a form quick and easy for your users.

Different types of keyboard on mobile – set up for letters, email, URL, and phone

In the example below, we can see a website using the text keyboard when the user is asked to fill in a mobile number:

An example of a letter keyboard being shown instead of a mobile number

Of course the user can switch it themselves, but this is unnecessarily slowing the user down. So be sure to check this one out on your own website across email, text and number fields as it could be a really quick win!

2. Error messages

No-one likes an error message, but just like death, taxes and Ed Sheeran, sometimes they’re going to be unavoidable.

So, how can we make these less frustrating for users? Again, it’s pretty simple: Be nice.

Despite it sounding obvious, there’s research behind it. CRO Expert and Form Guru Craig Sullivan ran a study looking at 40 participants using a website form and found that by putting in ‘nicer’ error messages, the average score of the form raised from 4.7 to 6.5 out of 10.

To add to this, back in 2013, UX Movement put together a list of key terms to avoid in error messages – and while 2013 is a lifetime ago in the digital world, it’s still very relevant:

  • Oops
  • Error
  • Failed
  • Problem
  • Invalid
  • Wrong
  • Prohibited

If you can see any of these in your forms, consider swapping them out and replacing them with more reassuring and helpful messaging, pointing out what the user needs to do to rectify the error, rather than just telling them they’re wrong – nobody likes hearing the latter!

3. Dropdowns on date of birth

Many forms require the user to fill in their date of birth. Strange as it sounds, there actually is a right and wrong way to ask the user this information.

As standard, a number of websites will have a dropdown menu like the one below. You’ve probably seen it before. Looks fine, right?

Wrong. You can make it much easier!

The dropdown takes users roughly 12-16 taps to get to where they need to be, as well as several annoying scrolls. It also becomes a longer process the older you get, which no-one wants reminding of.

The method used on GOV.UK allows for simple number inputs, which takes far less taps (9-11), is a lot faster, is way more mobile friendly and isn’t more laborious just because you’re ageing. Much better.

4. Address lookup

Potentially one of the more tedious parts of filling in a form is your address. Most of us prefer an address lookup, because it saves us a lot of typing.

Referring back to CRO expert Craig Sullivan, he suggests that high converting websites always have address lookup and he’s seen anywhere between a 5% and 30% increase in conversion rate from implementing it.

Do make sure it’s reliable though. If a user can’t find their address, you won’t get the sale or lead! Luckily, there are a few simple platforms that can help with integrating address lookup into your forms such as Google Maps (which is free!) or Loqate, to name just a few.

5. Inline validation

Okay, this one is a little more techy and perhaps isn’t as super simple as the others – but we’ve saved the best until last.

Is there anything more frustrating than submitting a form and getting an error message, but you have absolutely no idea what’s triggered it?

If, like me, your answer to that question is a resounding no, there is a good chance you’ll like inline validation.

Inline validation is the process of telling the user when they’ve done something right (or wrong) as they go. If there are any issues along the way, the user is informed and can take immediate action. That eliminates the possibility of that post-submit form rage – or worse, total abandonment and a lost lead or sale.

The below from retail giant Next is a great example of inline validation in practice:

As you can see, we’re given a lovely green tick where fields are filled in correctly. Where there’s an error, the box turns red and the user is provided with a clear instruction to minimise frustration.

You’ll be surprised at the impact that a fix like this has, and how much weight it gives to the overall user experience.

 

Forms are vitally important to securing conversions, so they should be one of the first places you review and optimise. Try not to set it and forget it – user behaviours and technologies do change over time so keep up with the latest best practices, and be sure to study your own data to see where you can make improvements.

If you need a set of objective eyes, we offer a conversion rate optimisation service where we can identify the improvements for you!

A social ads strategy to help you drive results this Christmas

We’re quite aware summer has barely arrived, but the thing about Black Friday and Christmas is that it gets fiercely competitive. So, you need to have a plan!

Starting mid-summer will ensure you’ve got all your ducks in a row, giving you plenty of time to hit those numerous touchpoints customers need before committing to a purchase. If you start too late, it’ll be too expensive to enter the auction and your Cost Per Acquisition and Cost Per Click (CPC) will be higher.

Recommended activity

July/August

Make sure your pixel and tracking is all set up correctly. Without this, you won’t be able to accurately measure results as you get further into the year – bad data makes for uninformed decisions, so it’s well worth double-checking.

Also consider whether you’re cookie compliant to the latest legislation. You could face hefty fines if you’re not collating data responsibly. We can get you set up and compliant, if you need a hand.

Is your website generally performing well? Slow load times, clunky navigation and poor landing pages can cost you dearly in clicks that don’t drive results. Talk to us about conversion rate optimisation to find out where you can improve.

September

This is where you’ll want to build brand awareness and website traffic while CPCs are low. Introduce your brand to potential customers, so you can really build out your remarketing list and ramp up that activity later in the year.

Create landing page campaigns with broad audiences and use engaging creative to attract attention and catch the eye before the competition gets stiff.

October

The month before Black Friday, you’ll want to continue with landing page campaigns – but start testing conversion campaigns with lookalike and custom audiences.

Use this time to ensure you have a clear idea of the following:

  • The images and videos that are bringing conversions
  • Which CTAs are working best
  • Which landing pages are driving results

All of this should ensure you go into Black Friday month with the best insights, allowing you to budget and spend accordingly on the campaigns most likely to drive conversions.

November

It’s here! Shoppers are going to be inundated with Black Friday messaging in-store, online, in their inboxes – everywhere! Good thing you’ve been doing a lot of brand awareness activity up to this point. Throughout the month, continue with your landing page campaigns and ramp up your conversion campaigns.

You’ll want to:

  • Test out conversion campaigns with your new customers
  • Test conversion types – for example, add to cart vs purchase
  • Consider flash sales during Black Friday/Cyber Monday to push new customers over the line

December

People are in the habit of spending now, and they’ll be looking for the retailers that are not only going to give them the products they want, but the service they want.

Focus on conversion campaigns, as it’ll be expensive to get new customers with competition at its height. Be sure to keep your messaging fluid throughout the month – the closer you get to Christmas, customers’ priorities shift from price to speedy delivery, reliable service, gift wrapping options, and so on.

January

The big shopping period might be over, but you’ve worked hard to win over new customers. Now isn’t the time to ignore them! Re-engage them through the post-festive lull. Reach out to them with…:

  • New products you’re launching
  • Exclusive access shopping events
  • Special offers
  • New Year sales

Campaign focus suggestions

Your campaigns should adapt and evolve as the year progresses – that’s because most people won’t buy from you the first time they hear of your brand (sorry!).

Below are our suggestions for your campaign focus through the latter half of the year.

  • July – 90% Prospecting focus & 10% remarketing
  • Aug – 90% Prospecting focus & 10% remarketing
  • Sept – 80% Prospecting focus & 20% remarketing
  • Oct – 70% Prospecting focus & 30% remarketing
  • Nov – 60% Prospecting focus & 40% remarketing
  • Dec – 50% Prospecting focus & 50% remarketing
  • Jan – 20% Prospecting focus & 80% remarketing

You’ll notice that the remarketing portion gets upped the closer towards the end of the year we get. That’s because initially you need to focus on trying to attract customers, before shifting the focus to get them over the line with a conversion by purchasing from you.

Creative is key

This is really what separates social from other forms of advertising. Your ad creative has to be well and truly thumb-stopping to get the results you want. Remember, people are generally looking at social media in their leisure time, so you’ve got to give them something good to lure them in and capture their attention.

Try things like:

  • GIFs
  • Short video clips
  • Beautiful imagery with supporting text
  • Tailored ‘Story’ ads

Couple your ads with a solid social commerce strategy to boost your touchpoints and make it even easier to shop, and you should be onto a winner.

We can help!

Overwhelmed, understaffed, or just need a team you can trust? We’ll get your social ads campaigns firing on all cylinders for the holidays – get in touch with us today.

How to encourage repeat customers on your website

Listen, we love paid media as much as the next person (actually that’s a lie, we definitely love it more) but let’s be honest: it’s not the be-all-and-end-all when it comes to securing conversions.

With paid media, you can spend a lot of time hunting down exactly the right person to purchase from you and serving them ads. If they then go on to become a customer, that’s great!

But if you’ve gone to all that effort to market to them and get them onto your website, and turn them into a customer – you don’t just want to forget about them. Right?

Making sure your website and wider marketing strategy is set up to keep those new customers interested can serve you well. Not only does it increase the lifetime value of that customer, it can also give you great data for your future campaigns, allowing you to use your paid media budget to innovate.

So with that in mind, here are some of our top tips for getting customers to make repeat purchases from you.

1. Introduce a wishlist function

We’ve all been there, lusting after an item that perhaps we don’t have the funds or space for just yet. This is where wishlists come in.

Allowing your logged-in visitors to save items for later doesn’t just serve them. You can gauge your most popular items, for a start. But more importantly, it gives you a great excuse to nudge them with a little email reminding them. Kind of like the standard with an abandoned basket.

Couple it with a sneaky little offer – a discount, or free delivery – and you might just get that extra sale over the line.

2. Show them the details

Ensure your email and social channels (and remarketing campaigns!) are chock full of enticing product photography. If you can, put your products in-situ, and make sure they’re high-res so users can zoom in on the details.

This is particularly true if your products come with a higher price tag – people want to be sure what they’re buying meets their expectations. If what you’re selling has particular USPs or specifications, include those too. These are good trust indicators, letting your audience know that you’ve taken the time to be transparent and give them all the information.

3. Provide a straightforward login process

How many times have you got frustrated because of a clunky login process? Making your users persevere to make a purchase is not a good look and can risk them abandoning the idea altogether.

Try and make logging in as easy as possible, with a streamlined process and setting cookies (with permission!).

4. Utilise offers effectively

Whether it’s a discount code once their order has arrived (“10% off your next order!”), or a little something for their birthday, offers are some of the main reasons why people sign up to mailing lists and hold out on buying.

Okay, so you may be giving up a smidge of revenue to get them to buy again – but this is about lifetime value and building up a positive experience. This doesn’t mean devaluing your offering by serving discounts all the time. Segment your data and look for signs of a ‘warm’ audience – high email click-through rates, time spent on your site, items added to wishlists or baskets, and so on.

Hit them with the offer at the right moment. They’ll feel like the stars have aligned, and you get another opportunity to impress them with your products.

5. Personalise the experience

If you’ve got the capacity to, personalisation is where it’s at. Use labels, groups and taxonomies that your user is typically interested in to show them similar products you think they may also be interested in.

That means when they come to your website, they don’t have to have a particular idea in mind. If they’re a fan of yours, they may just relish the serendipity of being shown something that really appeals to them and buy on the spot!

6. Don’t hide your contact details

If someone runs into an issue, or wants to know more about an item, don’t make it difficult for them to find that information. A chatbot, or even a simple FAQ page, can be a straightforward way to handle the most common questions and free up time for customer service.

A positive customer service experience is vital to turning casual shoppers into advocates. If you’re the brand going above and beyond to help, you can bet your customers will remember that the next time they need something else you happen to sell.

 

Did you know we offer a conversion rate optimisation (CRO) service? If you need objective eyes on your website, we can help you identify areas of improvement to better serve your online customers

A glittering 2021 awards season for Launch

After what has been a challenging year, we are delighted to share the recognition we’ve been getting in numerous industry awards.

Our work with Aria Resorts throughout the pandemic has seen us win:

  • European Search Award for Best PPC Campaign
  • UK Biddable Media Award for Travel and Leisure
  • Highly Commended at The Drum Search Awards

Alongside our campaign-specific work, it’s been wonderful to be recognised as an agency too. This year, we’ve also scooped up Small PPC Agency of the Year at the UK Biddable Media Awards and Silver PPC Agency of the Year at the Global Agency Awards.

As if that wasn’t enough, we’ve also just been shortlisted for Best Paid Search Campaign at the Performance Marketing Awards, for Business Services at the Exeter Living Awards and in two categories at the Global Search Awards!

The Performance Marketing Awards winners are revealed on 22 June, the Global Search Awards on July 13th and the Exeter Living Awards on 2 September – keep your fingers crossed for us!

How to capitalise on social commerce

So you’ve mastered the art of ecommerce and selling online. Your website’s checkout funnel is optimised to perfection, your ads convert at a good rate. All is well.

But now you’re hearing about another kid on the block. That’d be social commerce – and it’s here to shake up the way your audience buys online in a big way.

What is social commerce?

In a nutshell, social commerce is simply allowing your customers to buy your products without ever having to leave the social network they found you on. They can discover an item you sell, take a shine to it, buy it and carry on their way.

In the USA, the process is super slick, with everything handled natively on the platform. The UK’s version takes users via the website checkout, from the post. So it’s not quite as seamless yet – but it’s still a lot easier than trying to use savvy messaging to lure them to your profile links and have them navigate the purchase process there.

And with users worldwide spending over two hours a day on social media, the opportunity is bigger than ever to meet your customers where they already are.

It’s a different mindset altogether. 89% of Pinterest users are there for shopping inspiration. They’re ready to buy. 80% of people in a Facebook survey indicated that Instagram helps them decide whether to buy a product or service.

Social commerce isn’t necessarily new, but it’s starting to come into its own. If you’re a retailer with a social following, that’s a whole audience interested in your brand. Are you making the most of it?

What are the benefits of using social commerce?

There are three good reasons to start harnessing social commerce for your business.

Convenience

Social commerce inherently offers a shorter journey to purchase. Consumers want convenience, and interrupting their leisurely browsing time to visit your website is just not easy enough these days. They don’t want to sign up to create an account, they just found your product, they like it, they want it. Now you can give them that option.

We’ve all stumbled into a store in-person and bought something we weren’t planning on. That opportunity exists in social commerce too. Don’t expect to sell a luxury £2,000 watch from one social post. But a small charm? Some earrings? Lower value, attractive items are easier to convert – and easier for shoppers to justify buying in their downtime!

Discoverability

This is really key. Shoppers are already in the habit of scrolling through feeds and Explore pages – this doesn’t come quite so naturally on search engine results pages.

You can of course advertise (we’ve shared our thoughts on trying Pinterest ads and optimising Facebook and Instagram ads. But even your organic content benefits from well-defined hashtags, as well as audience engagements that help amplify you in the algorithms. Even better, if buyers really love your product, they’ll evangelise about it for you with their own user-generated content.

Plus, unbranded searches are super popular. On Pinterest alone, 97% of searches are unbranded, levelling the playing field and giving you the chance to be discovered by new, keen customers. Social commerce makes it easy to capitalise on these opportunities and reduce the barriers to purchasing for your audience.

Built-in social proof

It goes without saying, but social networks are first and foremost… social! Users tag their friends on posts they like, send them directly to friends, save them for later… and so much more. Pinterest trailblazed on this years ago, but other platforms are just as hot on it now. Instagram now has a ‘wishlist’ feature, so users can save shoppable posts, making it easy to come back when they’re ready to buy.

If you’re selling online, you probably already have a great appreciation for the power of reviews – but it’s never easy to get them. Whether it’s emoji hearts or positive feedback in the comments of your social posts, it’s a lot easier for your prospective customers to see social proof that builds trust, in a less formal environment.

Fair warning, as with any reviews, it’s easy to get negative feedback too. It’s on you to provide your customers the best experience and great content that keeps them liking, sharing and engaging in a way that boosts your business.

Our top tips for social commerce success

Make your pictures pop

Your feed needs to look attractive. That means images should be rendered at the right size, with brightness, colours and contrast all considered. Low quality, blurry pictures are not going to stand out, or help sell your products.

Make the most of other features available to you

Polls, stories, competitions, Q&As, Live unboxings… there are tons of ways to use your social following as a focus group. Offer exclusive sneak peeks, answer questions they have, ask them to choose their favourite products – all of it can help you develop a better product offering targeted to what your customers really want.

Be responsive

If there are questions in the comments, be sure to answer them – it’s likely other customers are looking for the same information. Being helpful is another way you build credibility and help them make the decision to purchase.

Get conversational

Don’t be afraid to spark conversations. Ask questions in your post captions. Would they like to see other colours? Different sizes? An old well-loved collection brought back? There could be any number of ways your audience wants to spend money with you – they just haven’t told you yet.

Use video

It doesn’t have to be 4K quality, but it is essential that the lighting is good and the video gives an accurate representation of your product. In fashion, it could be as simple as giving an indication of how the fabric moves. If you have similar products, create a comparison video to help people decide between them.

Ultimately, video is all about informing your audience in an entertaining way.

Consider Live shopping

Be at the forefront of the next phase of social commerce: Live shopping. Taking cues from television giants such as QVC, social platforms afford you the opportunity to have a two-way conversation with your customers while selling directly to them through Lives.

Got a new brand, season, or partnership launching? A Live shopping event is the ideal way to do it with a bang. Team up with trusted partners and influencers, curate collections, offer advice and answer questions in real-time. Just make sure all your infrastructure – profile links, landing pages, stock levels – are all lined up and ready!

Need some help?

It can be a little overwhelming, especially if you have a big product catalogue and lots of platforms to choose from. In fact, we’ve done some of the hard work for you and had a chat with Pinterest, Shopify and some partners of ours all about social commerce already:

Get in touch with us today to start making the most of all social commerce has to offer.

Launch Online achieves OneTrust certification

We are pleased to announce that we are now certified to deliver OneTrust cookie consent solutions!

OneTrust is the most widely used privacy, security, and data governance platform, ideal for making sure you’re compliant when it comes to managing cookies and opt-ins on your website.

With the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in force, and web users increasingly sceptical of cookies and tracking, it’s vital that you follow the rules and allow users to manage their preferences.

Unlike other cookie management platforms, OneTrust features tools that model the traffic and conversion activity for users who opt out of tracking. That means users can enjoy the highest level of privacy, but you don’t miss out on valuable insights.

Because we’re certified, you can have complete confidence that we’ll implement a robust solution you can trust. So you get peace of mind that you’re fully compliant, and your users are empowered to make choices about their data.

Let us do the heavy lifting – talk to us today about implementing OneTrust cookie management on your website.

Using online insights to enhance your offline shopping experience

Are you ready for our habits to change again? Account Director Danny shares his thoughts as businesses reintroduce offline sales.

Now that lockdown’s easing, one of the big debates to open up is how the high street will re-emerge.

The sale of traditional department stores, Debenhams and Arcadia Group, to the upstart online clothing retailers, has led some to predict that the high street will simply not be the same again. Has the last year or so of living online changed our behaviour for good? Will our towns reflect that change?

That all remains to be seen – but what we’re really interested in is whether businesses can take what they’ve learned online over the past year and marry their insights with how they sell offline.

A more refined online experience

During the pandemic we’ve had numerous companies speak to us about getting them online. These companies had bricks and mortar stores and showrooms, but didn’t really see the true value of their website until their doors had to close. So they pivoted online and, with nowhere else to go, their customers followed.

But it’s not enough to simply be online. You have to provide a great user experience to ensure it’s easy for them to take key actions (or conversions) – like downloading brochures, booking appointments, or purchasing items. Here at Launch we don’t just drive traffic to websites, we also carry out user experience audits to optimise the journey to conversion. We then suggest changes that ensure users can navigate and purchase in the easiest, most effective way.

This is a good, standard practice – especially when your physical store can’t open. But with the high street opening back up, businesses need to make sure that the user experience they’ve refined online over the past 12 months continues into their offline offering.

Marrying online with offline

Your online presence is more important than ever for customers to not only find you, but understand your brand, and engage with your content. The only change is how the customer checks out. Your website and online sales will still be there, of course, but there will always be customers who want to get your product in their hands first.

One of the seamless examples of blending online and offline comes from none other than Amazon. The shopping giant’s new hair salon amps up the classic salon experience with augmented reality and QR codes that enable customers to shop products they’ve tried, having them delivered directly to their homes.

It’s impressive stuff, and while these are heady heights for most brick-and-mortar stores, it does give us an interesting glimpse into just how frictionless the future could be.

How do you manage the shift?

Make sure your online and offline experiences are consistent, for a start. From there, you can build on these experiences using data, customer feedback and your knowledge of behaviours in your store. Ask yourself how you can reduce barriers, offer more convenience and provide necessary information your audience is looking for.

Ultimately, our key message to businesses is don’t think of offline and online as separate entities anymore. They both require brand consistency and a great experience to be successful – whether your customers are browsing online, or in an aisle!

Should we use DSA’s?

Account Director Charlie talks to us about Dynamic Search Ads (DSA’s).

Why should we use DSA’s?

Dynamic Search Ads, or DSA’s as they are known in the PPC community, are not exactly new, but they are such a valuable ad type that I had to share my love for them.

The latest figures from Google* state that 15% of everyday searches are new, and with 3.5 billion searches per day, that is a lot of brand new search queries. So what better ad format to add in than one that helps to discover and capture valuable queries that your keywords have missed? 

Unlike regular search ads which trigger ads based on keywords, DSA’s crawl your webpages to determine if search queries are relevant and if an ad should be shown. If we hit the jackpot and the smart bid strategy has determined that the intent signals are there, our ad will show. 

But, here’s the great part, the ad headline will be dynamically generated to be as close a match to the query as possible, based on the exact landing page or group of landing pages that we are targeting. 

What’s better than a super relevant headline? A super relevant headline that isn’t limited to 30 characters! Yes, that’s right, unlike expanded text ads and responsive ads, DSA headlines can be longer which makes them an excellent choice for products or services where a little more detail could get you the click.

Here are my top DSA tips:

1. Let your business goals help you to decide where in your account the DSA should sit

A well debated topic for PPC’ers is whether you put your DSAs in a stand alone campaign with some strong audience targeting, or as an ad group within an existing campaign. Ultimately, I believe that the business goals should be driving this decision – along with which smart bid strategy is being used.

Within established accounts, I am seeing strong results from adding a DSA ad group which targets a specific landing page, the result is often an ad group that is available to ‘sweep up’ any queries that the keywords have missed. This will be even more relevant with BMM keywords retiring and phrase match missing some of the longer tail keywords.

2. Don’t forget your search term report 

Not only can we add in negative keywords, as we do with standard ad groups, we can also exclude underperforming URL targets. To achieve performance with DSAs they do require proper management – don’t set and forget.

3. Multiple ads for best practice

Google still loves to test. Be sure to add in 3 expanded dynamic ads per ad group. If your ad groups are targeting categories of URLs, make sure your ads are relevant to the category and don’t forget your extensions! If certain pages or products start to perform, pull them into their own ad group and use the opportunity to tailor the descriptions further.

4. Great time savers 

DSAs are an excellent choice for websites with a large volume of products or experiences. During the setup process, Google will suggest categories from your website, if this option is too broad or doesn’t suit your account structure, you can choose to target specific pages or create rules e.g. URL contains /hats

5. Include negative targets

Just as we can add specific pages from a website that we want to target, we can also exclude pages, so take the time with your DSA set up to avoid showing ads for your website’s t&c’s, and other pages which are not focussed on achieving conversions.

6. Watch them closely

As with any new campaign or ad group, DSAs need watching closely at the start to ensure they don’t eat away at your budget. Even with all your due diligence, and negatives in place, DSAs can still throw some curveballs and show for some searches that you weren’t expecting…

My closing thoughts on DSAs

While they won’t work for all accounts, they are a great ad format to trial to help discover missed opportunities and to test landing pages such as blogs that you might not target with your regular keyword campaigns. 

*at the time of writing

Tanya’s Quest 79 – 79 ways to say I appreciate you

79 ways to say I appreciate you

Here at Launch Online we’re getting stuck into our Quest79 mission: setting ourselves a personal challenge involving the number 79.

When Jaye first set us the challenge she said it was about pushing ourselves, but also reconnecting with and rediscovering the joy in life. Bringing an extra sprinkling of motivation to our working days which are largely spent at home on our laptops.

It was the word reconnecting which got me thinking about reaching out to people I love as part of the challenge. I’ve had, let’s say, a complex relationship with technology since the pandemic hit. I don’t like to be on my device a lot in front of my toddler, and so often miss out on chats while they’re actually happening. When I finally get time to sit and look at my phone it can be overwhelming trying to respond and keep in touch with all the people I want to. When someone asks ‘how are you’ or ‘what’s happening’ I often don’t know what to say (every day is the same!). 

And don’t get me started on getting distracted by my extra chins and uncut hair on video calls.

This would be all well and good if we weren’t totally reliant on our devices to stay in touch with people at the moment – but we are. I saw Quest79 as an opportunity to celebrate my relationships and the amazing circle of people who surround me, even if I can’t be with them right now. So I decided to send 79 voicemails to friends and family by the end of February, sharing a happy memory I have of them.

I will be donating the £79 to a local charity called South London Cares https://southlondoncares.org.uk/home. They operate an amazing buddy system between older and younger neighbours who are feeling isolated.

A lot of people asked if I would be able to find 79 people to contact, which is a fair question! I am from a huge extended family, so it wasn’t too hard for me. In fact, there were some people I didn’t manage to include on the list which made me feel pretty fortunate (if any of you are reading, don’t take it personally! 79 is just a number…).

When I kicked this off on 16 Feb I thought I had loads of time. It was four or five people to contact a day. Then for various illness and childcare related reasons time ran away from me… I had some catching up to do! How would it be spending that concentrated time on my device? I actually found it really therapeutic. I didn’t have to stare at the screen to do it. It focused my attention on happy memories and I could talk through them at my own pace. I found myself laughing out loud, smiling fondly, and at one point even crying into the mouthpiece of my phone (sorry not sorry Leyla). 

But the best part of course was reading and hearing people’s reactions. One teacher friend said she stomped back to her desk after a bad morning, picked up her phone, heard my message and ‘just melted’. ‘Thanks for fitting me into the top 80 friends!’ said another friend who we will call Mr Sarcasm. Some have even suggested I think about a career which involves voice recordings – an unexpected, but potentially lucrative, development! 

I completed my voicemail challenge at 8.30pm on 28 February, saving my last voicemail for Jaye, who has been the leader I needed in this difficult reality. Talk about creating a welcoming, motivating and inspiring workplace. 

This isn’t the end of my Quest79 challenge. I’ll be taking part in a team activity with the rest of the Launch folks. Bring it on – if it’s anything like the first leg, it makes getting out of bed and starting work a whole lot easier. 

Launch Online shortlisted for Biddable Awards 2021

Launch is really excited to see that we have been shortlisted for two awards in the Biddable Media Awards 2021!

We are delighted to have been nominated by the judges in the Small Biddable Agency of the Year category (under 25 employees) and for the Travel / Leisure Campaign of the Year, specifically for our work with UK self catering business, Aria Resorts, to help guide the hospitality business through the turmoil of the pandemic and secure a vital sell-out summer season.

Founder of Launch Online, Jaye Cowle, said; “What a wonderful start to the year! I couldn’t be prouder of the whole team for the work they have put in over the past 12 months.”

The UK Biddable Media Awards recognise, celebrate, and reward the contribution that Biddable makes to shaping the future of advertising sales and media planning and to the overall success and profits of businesses.The 2021 Awards will be conducted through a live virtual event on Thursday 22 April. You can watch how we get on live here.