Start-Ups: What To Attend And Why

There’s no denying that life as a start-up entrepreneur is tough. Long hours, endless worry and sleepless nights are just a snippet of what’s ahead in your quest to create the next big thing.

 

But life shouldn’t always be this hard and the quote ‘it’s not what you know, it’s who you know’ rings true in the world of start-ups and business growth, (although what you know matters a lot too – having friends in high places will only get you so far).

 

So, how can you increase your chances of meeting the right people in this highly competitive world of start-ups?

 

Luckily there’s a huge number of meet ups for entrepreneurs in London, so you’ll be spoiled for choice when it comes to deciding where to meet like-minded people for some evening bevvies.

 

Our mobile app developers are used to giving advice to startups and know the importance of networking. We’ve put together their favourite London meet-ups to ensure you know exactly where to go and when, in order to get your fellow entrepreneur fix – and free beer.

 

Silicon Drinkabout London

Next meet up: 17/06/16

Time: 6pm

Venue: Electricity Showrooms, Hoxton Square

 

Taking place every Friday evening at different venues, Silicon Drinkabout is a great event for you to unwind after work with drinks whilst pretending to be ‘networking’.

 

It is hosted by 3 Beards, a company who run events primarily for start-ups and techies. This is where to go when you want to meet like-minded people and return home with the realisation that you are not alone in this crazy start-up world.

 

Silicon Drinkabout is a great place to start networking and meet potential co-founders in a relaxed and friendly environment.

 

Don’t Pitch Me Bro!

Next meet up: 28/7/16

Time: 6pm

Venue: Albert House, Islington

 

Don’t Pitch Me Bro is the event to go to if you want market validation without having to fully build out your product.

 

Their mantra is ‘get the feedback your product deserves, not the feedback your pitch earns’. The meet up is designed to get to the ‘nitty gritty of business…to help you ascertain where the next step may lie’.

 

The idea is you pitch (but ‘don’t pitch’) your idea in front of a group of entrepreneurs and receive helpful advice and comments. Attend this event if you want to get honest but constructive feedback on your product in a social and relaxed environment.

 

Our app designers Elliott and James attended the last one and said there were free burritos and beer, need I say more?

 

It’s the same team behind Silicon Drinkabout, so the atmosphere is similar, although the events are less regular. It’s hosted every month and the next one is Thursday July 28th.

 

London Ruby User Group

Next meet up: 13/6/16

Time: 6pm

Venue: CodeNode

 

A meet up to see various speakers talking about different aspects of running a business. The next event has talks on managing information overload and a beginner’s guide to passwords.

 

Whilst this may not sound overly enthralling, it is free and there’s a pub trip afterwards.

 

Google Campus

Next meet up: 13/6/16 (for new members)

Time: 8.30am

Venue: Google Campus Café

 

Google Campus is a space for entrepreneurs to ‘learn, connect and build companies that will change the world’. It’s free to become a member of Google Campus and you will join a huge community of founders, entrepreneurs and start-ups.

 

If you’re serious about getting your start-up ready to go, Google Campus events are the ones to look out for. Their events seek to bridge the gap between entrepreneurs and larger corporations, so you could even meet your next investor or cofounder.

 

There’s casual meet ups, talks from premier speakers including successful entrepreneurs and inspiring industry leaders, and mentoring sessions including marketing and brand awareness.

 

This is just one meet up out of many, so have a look on the website and you’re sure to find one to suit you.

 

 

 

 

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Common Email Marketing Mistakes

Email is still the primary form of communication in the digital age. For this reason email marketing is stronger than ever as a direct marketing strategy. With that in mind many businesses still make some very basic mistakes when it comes to email marketing.

Email is still the primary form of communication in the digital age. For this reason email marketing is stronger than ever as a direct marketing strategy. With that in mind many businesses still make some very basic mistakes when it comes to email marketing.

Not Using the Right Subject Line

The subject line is probably the most important part of an email. The subject line is going to determine whether the person bothers to open the email or sends it to the spam folder or trash. A bad subject line may get flagged for spam from the very beginning and your customer may ever even get the choice of opening or deleting it.

Use subject lines that are likely to get attention, avoid spam keywords and also avoid using all caps.

Not Sending During the Right Time of Day

Sometimes instinctively companies will send emails first thing in the morning and at the beginning of the week. Traditionally this when people cull the bulk of their emails. This means you have less of an opportunity to stand out , and it is the time when people will only scan subject line sand will be preoccupied with starting their task for the day.

Not Sending The Email From a Person

Customers tend to ignore emails that don’t come from an actual person. Avoid sending emails from addresses like “info@website.com” or “sales@website.com”, send them from an email address with a persons name like “johnsmith@website.com”. This makes the email more personal and improves the odds it won’t be flagged as spam or ignored all together.

Not Sending to Good Email Addresses

Companies often buy email marketing list where many of the email addresses bounce or are no longer being used. If your email marketing software doesn’t track bounced emails and give you a list of invalid addresses, you could be putting out a lot of effort to reach very few people.

Not Creating Valuable Content

One of the biggest problems when companies send emails to customers is that the emails only focus on achieving the companies goals, rather than putting information the customer may want or need in front of them. Often times email marketing is a scheduled task for a company, which means sometimes they are not in a position to develop content that may actually be useful to the customer, this means customers are more likely to delete or ignore their emails.

Not Think About Design and PresentationIn marketing presentation is more important than ever. You are constantly competing for people’s time and attention, and if you don’t have a clean and professional presentation in your marketing materials, people are likely to just ignore it and decide it’s not worth their time. Part of this when developing email marketing campaigns is to make sure they are designed for mobile devices, and that it looks consistent in different email applications.

 

Not Tracking Email Statistics

If you’ve done everything else right, you’ll never really know if you’re not tracking it through your email marketing software. You will want to track things like open rates, bounce rates, link clicks and also what time of day your emails were opened. This will help you make informed decisions to improve your email campaigns.

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Your Pre-Launch Marketing Strategy

Back in August, we wrote an article to help you answer the question of ‘What Next?’, when launch day finally comes around. The resounding answer? Well, an awful lot. There’s advertising to be planned, social content to be perfected and feedback to be responded to. But marketing doesn’t just begin when your app launches. The majority of successful mobile apps will have had a marketing strategy in place from the get-go.

Here’s our top tips for getting your marketing strategy in place before your app has even launched:

 

Set Objectives

 

Launching a marketing campaign without any goals is like visiting IKEA on a Saturday afternoon without a shopping list. It’s not only a huge waste of time, it’s also likely to end in divorce. We’re not sure why or how, but take our word for it.

Set yourself an end goal and work backwards to figure out which campaigns to go with. These goals could include brand awareness, building an email list, reaching a certain engagement % on social media. Statistics are important and don’t just pull some numbers out of the air willy-nilly, actually put some thought into it.

 

Competitor Analysis

 

Whether you’re launching a mobile app or a chain of gluten-free, vegan restaurants, competitor analysis is an essential part of the process. You only need to watch one episode of The Apprentice to see how ugly things can get when the basics are overlooked, and competitor analysis is one of these basics.

Analysing your competitors involves evaluating anyone who does the same thing as you. Have a look at their marketing strategies, their target users, brand values, profitability, strengths and weaknesses in their campaign – the list is endless!

Ideally, competitor analysis should be done before the project even begins for two reasons. Firstly, to ensure there is actually a gap in the market for your project. In an over-saturated market it’s essential to determine your unique selling point, and researching other companies will ensure no one is doing the same. Secondly, it enables you to learn from your competitors successes and mistakes and avoid making the same from the offset. We all love a marketing fail, but as well as laughing at yet another monumental screw up, let’s try to learn from them.

 

Know Your Target User

 

If we had a pound for each time one of our clients had no idea what kind of person they’re targeting, well, I’d probably be on a beach in Mexico.

Our branding meetings at the start of a project often include a target user profiling session. Put together a list of your users’ goals and needs, which will help you when it comes to creating and targeting your campaigns.

Your product must help your target user accomplish their goals, whether it’s relieving boredom on their commute, finally managing to lose weight or finding a new partner.

 

Optimise Your App Store Page

 

We’ve written multiple posts on app store optimisation, so we won’t go into too much detail here. All we will say is keywords, keywords and more keywords.

And we don’t want them stuffed into your app store description like an overfilled sofa cushion. They need to be delicately placed into your copy strategically and carefully – use the same care and consideration you would use to place strawberries on a slightly-underdone chocolate brownie. Have we been watching too much Great British Bake Off? I don’t think so.

 

Start A Blog

 

People are often put off starting a blog as they believe they can’t write. If there’s one thing I’ve learned in my life it’s this; you do not need to be able to write well to start a blog. Sure, it helps. But my morning scroll through Medium’s top stories has taught me that running a successful blog is so much more than just being able to write well.

It is not knowing your similes from your metaphors or using a synonym for every word you type. It’s about personality and actually useful advice. Blogging will help you to build the hype around your brand, target specific people and bring traffic to your website. Plus, it gives you something to do while your app developers are busy writing 6 months worth of code in a windowless basement.

 

Build A Social Presence

 

Attempting to build a brand without a social media presence is definitely possible, but you’re likely making your life more difficult. If you’re not social savvy enough to manage your own social media profiles, it’s worth getting someone else in to help. These days millennials know their way around a Twitter feed better than they know their way around their own town (I’m allowed to say this – I”m a millennial), and most of us only require enough money to get our weekly avocado toast fix.

Social media profiles are an excellent way to make your brand appear more ‘human’. Twitter allows brands to quickly respond to feedback and complaints, while Instagram can provide a valuable ‘behind-the-scenes’ insight into the creation of your app. Social profiles are essential when it comes to building a pre-launch ‘buzz’ around your product – think sneak peaks or giveaways.

Check out our guide to using Instagram to drive downloads if you need a bit more inspiration.

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5 Things To Remember Before Launching An App

As app developers ourselves we know how frustrating it can be trying to launch an app, as there’s simply so much to think about. Our UK based design and development team here at Borne Digital are on hand with the top things to consider when preparing to develop and launch your app.

 

1) Have I Done Enough Research?

 

Research is hugely important both post and pre-launch. You need to determine exactly who your market is and why this app might be useful to them. Market research will give you insights into what your target users actually value in an app, as well as determining which keywords they search for browsing the app store, knowledge which will become invaluable when it comes to actually marketing the app.

 

It is also important to learn as much about your competition as possible. Explore their marketing strategies, not just on the App Store but on other platforms such as Twitter or Facebook. Take a look at their user feedback to see what they’re doing right, and what they could improve on. Then focus on what your product will do differently to ensure they download yours instead.

 

2) How Will Your App Benefit The User?

 

For me personally, an app is only worth downloading if it is going to make my life easier. If it doesn’t do this well, it gets deleted and cast back into the ever expanding app store to make space for Game of Thrones downloads and Justin Bieber albums.

 

Alternatively, you could ask yourself whether your app solves a problem. Whether it’s the problem of not knowing where to eat, what to pack or what to do on the train, a good app will help a user out in their time of need.

 

If the app you want to create isn’t going to benefit your user in some way then your idea needs a rethink. If you choose to work with mobile app developers they may help with your branding. At Borne Digital, we conduct workshops and branding sessions to ensure the app has a solid purpose, which is understood by all involved.

 

3) Simplicity

 

Unless you have designed an app specifically to stretch the limitations of the human brain and patience, the app should be simple to use. No one wants to sit for longer than 3 seconds trying to work out how to log in, and no one wants to spend hours trying to stop an app from posting your run times to your Facebook newsfeed (Runtastic, I’m looking at you).

 

At Borne, we encourage you to launch a lean, focused product. However, that’s not to say that you shouldn’t have a clear picture in your mind of how you are going to refine and build on your first version – after all, this is just the beginning of a long journey.

 

We recommend having a clear 6-month roadmap before you launch. Then, using real data from your users post-launch, you can decide what features to improve, add or remove.

Borne Digital’s head mobile app designer Elliot shares his words of wisdom when it comes to creating a vision for your product,

“Often you can be so focused on building an incredible “V1” product that you forget to focus on what the product will look like in 6 months. My advice is to keep a couple of game changer features in your back pocket for your second or third release, that way you keep your first users amazed with your ability to constantly evolve and give new users yet more reason to download your app versus the competition.”

 

4) The Price

 

Research has shown that users are far more likely to spend money on in-app purchases than they are to pay for the app outright and, as someone who has spent a lot of money getting to level 457 on Candy Crush, I can confirm the truth of these findings.

 

Unless you already have a loyal user following, or simply outstanding marketing, it is unlikely that people are going to part with much money outright, so play it safe to start out with, no matter how much you think the app is worth.

 

5) What About Social Media?

 

It’s essential to start marketing your app long before the launch date. Engage your potential users by giving them sneak peaks of the app and reach out to influential bloggers in the industry in the hope that they might show you some love.

 

Using Twitter, Facebook or Instagram are great ways to create a buzz around your product and make users excited for launch date. Post-launch, these platforms will allow you to make improvements and updates based on user feedback.

 

Encourage people to share their experience with your product on one of these platform, preferably without spamming them.

 

Both Facebook and Instagram also allow you to post an ad and distribute it to your target audience. It comes at a cost depending on the number of people you want to reach, but if it gets to the right people it will be worth it.

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10 Best WordPress Themes of 2014

WordPress is one of the most popular and widely used blog hosting websites and offers tons of attractive, versatile free themes. They have themes to fit the needs of any blog, whether it is a personal blog, a magazine blog, a business blog, or anything else. With great designs readily available, it makes personalized and customized web development easy. This article will list the top ten free WordPress themes available in 2014.

10. Ryu

https://theme.wordpress.com/themes/ryu/

With a simple but elegant format and large photograph posts, Ryu is a great theme for personal blogs. It is ideal for really showing off great photos, but never neglecting the text to go along with it. The background of each post will even match (automatically!) the first image in the post.

9. Splendio

https://theme.wordpress.com/themes/splendio/

Splendio is a great design for a business or magazine website, but is versatile and fun enough to use for a personal blog too. Its format is easy to navigate but can really suit a blog that has a lot going on. It can take many elements and make them both exciting and accessible

8. Manifest

https://theme.wordpress.com/themes/manifest/

Manifest is the ultimate in elegant blog simplicity. It is a basic design that is perfect for articulate expression of ideas, and this makes it a great blog for writers who want to showcase their craft. Pictures, of course, can be inserted in a way that really complements the text and makes them pop against the white background.

7. Limo

https://theme.wordpress.com/themes/limo/

Limo is stylish and fun, and a great way to promote a business with an edge. It has a design that is basic enough to be extremely easy to get around, but a definite sophisticated and fun look. One of its standout features is a responsive carousel slider for great browsing.

6. Radiate

https://theme.wordpress.com/themes/radiate/

With infinite scroll and image gallery options, this is a great design for showcasing photography and images. It also has a trendy parallax header. Whether for a magazine or a personal photo blog, this is a standout design when it comes to image display.

5. Highwind

https://theme.wordpress.com/themes/highwind/

If there were one word to describe this web development theme, it would be light. Highwind is a classy, clean design that keeps all the focus on your content. Its design is classy and visually appealing, but would never detract from anything you have to say and show.

4. Gridster

https://theme.wordpress.com/themes/gridster/

Gridster is fun, but tidy too. It organizes your posts into a tight, easy to access grid pattern that is very trendy right now. It’s recommended particularly to those who really want to showcase one main photo for each post, making it ideal for either magazine or personal blogs.

3. MH Magazine lite

https://theme.wordpress.com/themes/MHMagazinelite/

This is the lite (and free) version of a fuller paid theme, but the design is definitely top-notch nonetheless. Obviously great for magazines, as the name suggests, it has a convenient sorting layout that lets you categorize stories in a visually appealing way and attach a thumbnail picture to each post.

2. Oxygen

https://theme.wordpress.com/themes/oxygen/

This design just looks like adventure. It’s simple and basic, and will not detract from the actual photos and text being displayed, but provides an exciting feel for a personal blog, or even an edgy business blog.

1. Twenty Fourteen

https://theme.wordpress.com/themes/twentyfourteen/

Sure, it’s the default blog for the year. But you know what? It’s a great layout! It’s stylish and really grabs the reader and pulls them right in. It’s perfect for personal or magazine blogs. The default black background really makes images pop, but is great for longer text too.

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