Opinions on business,
marketing and related technologies.

ICO Code of Practice to protect children’s online privacy

Been in my drafts for a couple of months but it’s still worth sharing.

The Information Commissioner’s Office published an Age Appropriate Design Code, it’s a set of standards that online services should meet to protect children’s privacy.

That means privacy settings should be set to high by default and nudge techniques should not be used to encourage children to weaken their settings. Location settings that allow the world to see where a child is, should also be switched off by default. Data collection and sharing should be minimised and profiling that can allow children to be served up targeted content should be switched off by default too.

This design code should apply to all users, not just children. But it’s a good start.

When it comes to children (and vulnerable adults), I’m less concerned about tracking and personal data retention but find it more egregious that they are taken advantage through psychological manipulation to spend more money or time in a game or service which has an overall objective to keep people hooked by giving them just enough of something they like to keep there endorphins flowing.

How to clean your Smartphone

Via cybertech.digital

– Unplug your smartphone, turn it off and remove the case.

– Dampen a microfibre cloth with water and household hand soap e.g. the soap dispensing bottle type.

– Gently rub the surfaces of the phone with the damp cloth. Try not to get moisture in any of the openings.

– Dry the phone with a clean microfibre cloth.

– Washing your hands regularly and thoroughly can reduce the number of germs that you put on your phone after you’ve washed it.

Considering we touch our phones hundreds if not thousands of times a day this is good advice

Free marketing help for charities

I hope everyone is well and staying safe.

Many of us at Rather Inventive work remotely so for us it’s (mostly) business as usual. But for some it’s going to be a period of hardship and this will be especially true for charities.

I don’t have much to offer so I’m going to make our Inventive Marketing club free to all charities for now and into the foreseeable future. I hope this small gesture will equip them with the tools to find more people willing to give and support their good work.

If you know of a charity who would benefit, send them over to my club page. Or ask them to contact me and I’ll get them setup.

I wish you all the best and if I can be of any help (in any way) do let me know – Take care

Ben

56: Close-up magic with Rod Hande

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Ben speaks with Rod Hande, an up and coming magician on what marketing methods he uses to promote his business. Rod also does his first video conference magic trick!

Sponsors for this episode:

  • 34SP.com – A Fast, Secure and Managed WordPress host based in the UK. Visit 34sp.com and use the code WPINVENTIVE at checkout to get your first three months of hosting completely free.
  • BombBomb.com – A simple way to create and send personal video by email. Visit vid.us/somethinginventive to get 10 video examples from real users.
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55: ‘An environmental policy for a freelancer?’ with Sarah Townsend

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Ben visits Sarah in her home office to talk about why she wrote an Environmental policy as a solo worker and freelancer and her forthcoming book ‘Survival Skills for Freelancers (or how to go solo without going loco).’

Sponsors for this episode:

  • 34SP.com – A Fast, Secure and Managed WordPress host based in the UK. Visit 34sp.com and use the code WPINVENTIVE at checkout to get your first three months of hosting completely free.
  • BombBomb.com – A simple way to create and send personal video by email. Visit vid.us/somethinginventive to get 10 video examples from real users.
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How to optimise marketing emails for mobile

Woman looking at mobile phone

Mobile phones have come a long way from the huge, basic bricks that they once were – and today we’re using our smartphones for more and more. With the majority of people using at least one email app on their smartphone to check their mail on the go, email marketers need to make sure that they are optimising the content they send for mobile – otherwise, it’s going to be difficult for any recipients using mobile to read them.

Smartphones have made it easier for people to check their emails more often, which is good news for businesses looking to use email marketing, but on the other hand, an email that’s designed solely to be read on a desktop or laptop could look horrible on a mobile. Here’s what you need to do. 

Use the right email marketing tool

Good email marketing software will not only make it easy for you to get your emails sent out to all your mailing list at once, like this free email blast service, but also provide you with the tools that you need to create interesting, eye-catching marketing email designs. When choosing the right email marketing software for your brand, make sure that you prioritize mobile optimisation. 

Keep the images minimal

Too many images in a marketing email could quickly start to look cluttered on a smartphone screen, so keep it clean and simple when adding photographs, stock photos or graphics. Don’t overdo it with too many images and keep image sizes small; large images could lead to frustration as they could take a while to load on a smartphone using a Wi-Fi connection. 

Break up the text

A large block of text is always going to be more challenging to read than smaller chunks, and this is even truer when reading on a smartphone screen. When writing your email content, you should avoid using large paragraphs and don’t crowd multiple links together at once. Bear in mind that recipients using mobile might be on the go, so try and get straight to the point as soon as possible and use plenty of white space to break up the text. 

Grab attention

Being word-wise is crucial when it comes to grabbing attention with your subject line, preheader text, and ‘from’ label. Consider the fact that when your recipients are checking their email on a smartphone, you have a limited amount of real estate to make sure that you grab the attention of the reader. For example, on an iPhone screen in the Mail app, only the first thirty letters of a subject line are displayed, and the ‘from’ label is more prominent. 

Be touchscreen-friendly

When it comes to calls to action, buttons are a better choice than links as they are easier to click on compared to a link when using a touch screen. And, size your buttons well using plenty of space around them to avoid any mishaps. If you use more than one button, don’t place them too close together. 

To get the results that you want from email marketing, optimising for mobile is crucial. 

54: Ronald Gijsel, Building a community and Yith WooCommerce plugin

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Ronald shares his experience of how he got into the world of WordPress and became a brand ambassador for Yith.

Sponsors for this episode:

  • 34SP.com – A Fast, Secure and Managed WordPress host based in the UK. Visit 34sp.com and use the code WPINVENTIVE at checkout to get your first three months of hosting completely free.
  • BombBomb.com – A simple way to create and send personal video by email. Visit vid.us/somethinginventive to get 10 video examples from real users.
(more…)

53: Three Counties and Cotswolds Tourism Forum 2020 round-up

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Through my Fastershire links, I get to work with many businesses in the hospitality and tourism industry. So when event organiser, Steve Gardner-Collins invited me to come along to the Three Counties and Cotswolds Tourism Forum with a press pass to cover the event, I thought it would be a great opportunity to get to learn more about this sector.

Sponsors for this episode:

  • 34SP.com – A Fast, Secure and Managed WordPress host based in the UK. Visit 34sp.com and use the code WPINVENTIVE at checkout to get your first three months of hosting completely free.
  • BombBomb.com – A simple way to create and send personal video by email. Visit vid.us/somethinginventive to get 10 video examples from real users.
(more…)

Fewer people are learning the skills to repair the things they own

Set of tools on a plank

This Tweet thread from BriannaWu got me thinking about what more we can do.

The irony is that even as society has become more technologically dependent, fewer and fewer people are learning the skills to repair things we own. Addressing climate change will require us stop throwing tech away, and start treasuring and maintaining it.

A couple of years ago my father and brother – both qualified engineers – were supporting a Repair Cafe in Hereford. The idea being for people to bring in old items to be repaired rather than be thrown into landfill.

I’ve always been interested in what’s inside an object or how it works, particularly electronics, and where possible I like to at least attempt a repair using my favourite Gorilla Glue and even digging out a soldering iron. It’s also fun to do this with my kids as long as they don’t move all the screws about!

The Repair Cafés are still going strong with over 100 in the UK and 1500 worldwide. If you have a gadget or household item that’s broken, before you chuck it go along to a Repair Café near you to see if it can be fixed. Even if you still fancy shopping for a new item you can Freecycle the old one for someone else to enjoy.


Update: You may also like to watch this short from the series Me vs Climate Change about Tech which features a visit to a Repair Café.

Think harder about who you’re friends with

Euan Semple interviewed on Jonathon Pollinger’s #SocialMediaShow podcast

“When people moan at me about the rubbish on Facebook I point out that that’s your friends. And if you don’t like that then think harder about who you’re friends with”

I completely agree with Euan on this, we should all take more responsibility for the diet of news and comment that we read. And like any good food diet it should be varied.