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nibusinessinfo.co.uk July 2015 performance

August 6, 2015 at 10:45 am

More than a quarter of a million customers visited the nibusinessinfo.co.uk website in July.


While many people enjoyed a sunny break last month, Northern Ireland businesses were busy digesting the Summer Budget, finding out about leadership and management support and trawling nibusinessinfo.co.uk’s international trade guidance – including a new tool to help businesses determine the right VAT rules when selling and buying goods and services internationally.


For more detail download the nibusinessinfo.co.uk July Performance Report (PDF, 340K).

You can look back at previous nibusinessinfo.co.uk monthly performance reports, as well as the 2014-15 Annual Performance Report on our site performance page.

nibusinessinfo.co.uk June performance

July 8, 2015 at 8:51 am

Northern Ireland businesses are still clearly hard at work. June’s site visits experienced an expected seasonal dip with the arrival of summer, but figures have increased by 50 per cent upon June 2014. The type of content being viewed online highlights that the holiday season is in full swing – leave entitlement guidance proved popular with our customers.


June has been a busy month for new site content. The Employment & skills theme published two new guides – Managing employee bereavement (developed with the Labour Relations Agency) and Leadership and management support in Northern Ireland (developed with the Department for Employment and Learning). Other new content includes our popular top tips pages. These highlight advice on specific business themes and have generated increased site referrals via our social media channels. Facebook has driven over 1,300 link clicks – tips aimed at food sector businesses delivered 585 of these referrals. Referrals from Facebook in June were double that of May.


Download the full June 2015 performance report (PDF, 385K).

nibusinessinfo.co.uk May performance

June 4, 2015 at 8:21 am

nibusinessinfo.co.uk recorded another steady month for site visits and page views although there was a slight dip on the previous month that could be attributed to the two bank holidays in May. The new Social Enterprise Hub campaign site, developed in conjunction with the Northern Ireland Executive, was among the site’s top performing content alongside our advice factsheet on the Legal implications and best practice using social media.


Our Trade marks advice was updated. This revised guidance proved popular with our social media audience – this guidance drove 200 clicks via Facebook and 15 new followers to LinkedIn. There was a notable interest in the Regional Start Initiative registration page. Referrals from nibusinessinfo.co.uk to the sign-up service increased by 28 per cent more visits compared to last month.

For more detail and insight you can download the nibusinessinfo.co.uk May 2015 Performance Report (PDF, 306K).

Email Newsletter – Insight Report 2014-15

May 26, 2015 at 4:04 pm

Over 17,000 customers have signed up to receive nibusinessinfo.co.uk’s monthly email newsletter.

Email Newsletter Stats 2014-15

Our monthly email newsletter delivers key updates for Northern Ireland businesses. This includes regulation and legislation updates, the latest business support and best practice advice. You can also access new business opportunities and upcoming Northern Ireland business events.

During the 2014/15 financial year our email newsletter featured:
• 110 Northern Ireland business events
• 41 articles sharing best practice advice on key business areas
• 25 regulation updates affecting Northern Ireland businesses
• 23 stories highlighting business support schemes
• 6 video case studies

The shop window
Encouraging customers to open your email is akin to a shop window display – users must be intrigued enough to enter. The email subject line is the main determining factor in this. Our newsletter’s open rate during 14/15 was 18.87%. Competing against a UK industry average of 24.45%* this is a target that we are working to improve.

Metrics that show engaging and relevant content
Click to open rate is another metric that is used to evaluate the success of email marketing campaigns. This represents the number of customers who click on links once they have opened your newsletter. Our average click to open rate of 25.15% suggests that our customers find the information that we provide engaging and relevant to their needs. This figure sits comfortably above the UK average of 10.79%.

Other email marketing metrics that show the effectiveness and relevance of our email newsletter are a click through rate of 4.75% (against a benchmark of 3.13%) and our low unsubscribe rate of 0.1% (compared to a benchmark of 0.55%).

Download the full email newsletter insight report 2014-15 (PDF, 196K).

*source: SIGN-UP.TO email marketing benchmark report 2015

The Business of Games in Northern Ireland

May 20, 2015 at 9:08 am

As an editor in charge of nibusinessinfo.co.uk’s creative industries content, I have recently had the pleasure of attending The Business of Games event at the Europa Hotel in Belfast.

This two-day affair was hosted by Northern Ireland Screen and offered a series of engaging talks and workshops for games designers, developers, producers and other professionals working in the industry.

Joining them at the Europa for the first of the two days, I very quickly came to understand a few key points about the business of games…

April 2015 performance

May 7, 2015 at 4:08 pm

nibusinessinfo.co.uk made a solid start to the new financial year, recording more than twice as many visits as April 2014, although a quiet Easter break meant a slight fall in traffic since March 2015. New content and current events were trending high this month – our new Creative Industries video case study on Jude Cassidy Textiles came close to toppling Home Restaurant from #1 on our YouTube chart, and we added an Instagram for business factsheet to our extensive social media guidance.


Topical content on changes to employment law, seasonal business issues and Invest NI Innovation Vouchers was trending this month:


For more detail and insight you can download the nibusinessinfo.co.uk April 2015 Performance Report (PDF, 317K).

You can look back at previous nibusinessinfo.co.uk monthly performance reports, as well as the 2014-15 Annual Performance Report on our site performance page.

Getting smart about digital marketing

April 28, 2015 at 4:40 pm

On Wednesday 22 April, I set off to the RDS in sunny Dublin with my colleague Steven to attend the Smart Business Show. Armed with an A5 notebook, my plan was gather some expert insight into the world of digital marketing in 2015.

Anna and Steven at Smart Business Show

We kicked off the two day event with an interesting talk on Instagram for business from Connector 360’s Conor Lynch. Look out for Steven’s upcoming blog post for the insights he shared


The dynamic Bryan Lavery from Twitter presented in the keynote theatre on why moments matter for SMEs. Bryan emphasised the opportunity that Twitter presents for small and medium businesses. 56% of users have discovered a new business on Twitter and 75% have used it to contact an SME. Some of the tips he shared included:

  • ensure your Twitter bio is SEO friendly and includes your brand’s target keywords
  • put your Twitter handle on everything, from email signatures to products
  • don’t forget about tweeting at weekends; the UK and Ireland has very high weekend Twitter activity
  • using pictures can quadruple your engagement and increase retweets by 50%
  • tweets with less than 100 characters can see up to 20% more engagement
  • accounts that reply to mentions get more engagement

Bryan also highlighted @twitteruki_sme, an account that can help SMEs out with any Twitter for business queries. We learned more about the power of Twitter for small businesses from “Tweeting Goddess” Samantha Kelly who is behind #irishbizparty and #BelfastHour. Samantha’s inspiring talk advocated the importance of being human, being helpful and reaching out on social media.

Facebook for business

Helen Smyth from Facebook hosted a talk on how the platform can be used to grow your business and drive sales. With 1.39 billion monthly users, Facebook is the largest social network.

Helen discussed the multi-screen phenomenon, with people using more than one device. She highlighted Facebook’s advantage at targeting signed in users as they switch between devices, something that cookie technology fails at.

The latest trend in the world of Facebook is the increase in mobile video consumption. Since the boom in video uploads from last year’s “ice bucket challenge”, 1 billion videos are viewed on Facebook daily.

Helen advises really knowing your audience and your business goals before creating content on Facebook. She also highlighted some new Facebook advertising developments; dynamic product ads and the as yet unreleased “Messenger for Business”.

Online advertising & search engine optimisation

The team from Vroom Digital blasted through the ins and outs of using SEO and Adwords for your business. The main difference between the two tactics to drive traffic is that Adwords require an immediate monetary investment and while the effects are immediate they only last as long as you pay. SEO on the other hand, requires a long-term time investment, and the results have greater longevity but can take between 3 and 12 months.

Adroll’s Shane Murphy advocated the value of using retargeting in your online advertising. Retargeting uses cookies to show specific ads to users who visited your website but didn’t convert. Using retargeting can help increase conversions by up to 85%.

Since Google’s latest update on 21 April 2015, the mobile-friendliness of a website is now indispensable for search marketing. This was the focus of Google’s presentation. Search Quality Analyst Diogo Botelho highlighted resources to help businesses get their website mobile-friendly:

Mobile, mobile, mobile

The importance of mobile was a reoccurring theme through the conference, mentioned by almost everyone. Here are some key facts:

  • 80% of Twitter users are mobile
  • 83% of Facebook users are mobile
  • People are spending an average of 2.85 hour per day on a mobile device
  • 65% of people use a smartphone while they are out shopping

The future

Gareth Dunlop from the Digital Marketing Institute gave a talk on the future of digital marketing. Here are some of his insights:

  • The digital marketers that are winning in 2015 are the ones that are the most integrated – online and offline.
  • User experience so important – if the first website link a person clicks on doesn’t get them to where they want, only 50% will give you another chance and go back to the homepage and start again.
  • Research, such as web analytics, is key to making decisions. Gone are the days that business decisions are made on opinion or seniority, now they are made with fact and research.
  • Search is moving from indexing to understanding. For example, a user who searches ‘best hotel Belfast’ isn’t searching for the hotel that uses the word best most times on its website, they want the best hotel. Search engines are starting to understand and reflect this.
  • SEO is about proving your relevance to customers by providing relevant rich content.
  • Mobile marketing is not just marketing on a small screen; it’s marketing to people on the move.

nibusinessinfo.co.uk Annual Report 2014-15

April 2, 2015 at 3:47 pm

2014-15 was another record-breaking year of growth for nibusinessinfo.co.uk as we welcomed customers over 2.9 million times!


By the end of March 2015 we were welcoming over 13,000 customers each weekday – that’s more than a sold-out Odyssey Arena using nibusinessinfo.co.uk on a typical business day!


More than 5.5 million pages of business advice and guidance were served to customers – that’s over 100 pieces of information dispensed every minute.

Just under 7,000 people registered for our email newsletter – that’s 19 registrations each day – which now reaches over 16,000 customers each month. Read the latest email newsletter here and sign-up to receive future newsletters here.

Our YouTube videos are watched 56 times every day, and our 3 main social media accounts (Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn) now have over 20,000 followers.

Download the nibusinessinfo.co.uk Annual Performance Report 2014-15 (PDF, 186K).

Find all of our monthly and annual reports on the site performance page.