Growing your Twitter Audience, First Steps

There are currently a massive 500 million tweets posted everyday by 241 million users. As a business, the question is how to reach, communicate and distinguish your brand within this huge audience sitting at the end of your fingertips. Twitter users are far more likely to follow and engage with brand than users of other Social Media channels.

Twitter Brand Engagement

So how do you pinpoint your relevant audience- people with an interest in your business and service? With a large number of of potential customers and leads live on Twitter at any one time, this task at first seems like finding a needle in a haystack, a giant haystack.

Having a Twitter presence is highly advantageous for your business across many areas, lead generation, customer service, service and product awareness to name but a few. Using and understanding how to make the most of Twitter features will help generate brand visibility, draw in relevant traffic, and ultimately, convert visitors into customers.

Where do you start?

Start by following relevant people. With Twitter these are relatively straight forward to accumulate. Begin with following

  • your customers,
  • your business partners, suppliers and vendors
  • your competitors.

When following these people, see who they are following and who is following them. Selectively chose which ones are relevant to your business, as this allows you to see what is being talked about by the people you are interested in, and often results in them following you back.

Connect with, and build a communityGrow Your Twitter Audience

If you are new to Twitter or have found your social engagement has taken a plateau, with no interaction and low or no click through rates to your website, it may be because you are not engaging with your audience, or that you may not be providing relevant, useful information. By actively engaging with your audience through conversation, mentions, questions and direct messaging, giving useful information back, and positioning yourself as a thought leader you’ll start growing and reinforcing your social media presence.

Learn with Urban Element

Once a month we hold free social media seminars. Our aim is to introduce you to all the features of Twitter and their relevance to business. We’ll show you how to use Twitter to strategically grow your audience and to expose your brand, tweeting relevant, rich, interesting content. We will help you to encourage your audience into engaging with areas of your business you want to draw attention to.

Twitter is a powerful platform. You have the ability to connect with and communicate with people in real time, direct and influence people’s actions, and establish your brand’s presence within your industry market.

To make sure your social activity on Twitter is fully effective, we’ll bring to light strategic factors that should be taken into consideration, such as the time of day you tweet, as well as the frequency. Finally be aware of benchmarking your performance as this allows you to analyse results and see where you can improve.

Book your complimentary Social Media training

Interested to know how Twitter can grow sales and traffic to your website? Book your place on our free monthly seminar.






Metrics to help you benchmark your blogging performance

5 Crucial Metrics to help you benchmark your blogging performance

With the right strategy and focus, and when used effectively, blogging can be a powerful marketing tool, especially for business. Creating content around your brand, services, and key propositions will attract targeted traffic at key stages of the research, enquiry and buying process.

By contributing engaging, quality content, you’ll see benefits to your SEO strategy whilst interacting with your target market . You’ll be strengthening your company’s presence within your market, and in turn your brand will become more attractive to prospective customers. If you missed it, you can find blogging tips from our April article “#UrbanBites: Blogging tips

Measure Your Blog

Creating engagement through your blog:

One of the main aims for your blog is to interact, engage and generate brand awareness, drawing attention to your services.

However, before you expect a sudden surge in visits and brand exposure, understand that it takes time to establish yourself. Therefore, maintaining your blog is crucial.

Maintaining a blog is more than planning content and scheduling these to be published at consistent intervals. Blogging is an active and responsive social activity. Otherwise you may be releasing content into the abyss. You’ve put your article out there, but is it easy to come by? Are people actually reading and interacting with what you have to say? These are the answers you want to know, especially when it’s related to conversion rates and ROI.

Having the answers to these questions, allows you the opportunity to refine content, making sure it is successfully reaching and making an impact with your specific audience.

Your blogging experience will become more worthwhile of your time and for your business when using these 5 metrics to help you benchmark your blogging performance.

Here are suggestions of data you should be measuring…

1) Page Views: Monitor your page views, and analyse your findings. When are there spikes in traffic, and what time, day and month were your page views at the highest? Interpret the relation between the content published and when views were at at the highest.

2) Bounce rate: Measure the traffic to your blog, and make sure you are aware of the percentage bounce rate. This being the people who land on your blog, but leave without visiting any further pages.

Tips to improve this:

Make sure that the content is what the user is expecting.  Your reader should be able to digest information easily, and make a decision whether the article is right for their needs. Make sure that the format is attractive and pleasing to the eye. If you’ve filled the blog with heavy blocks of content and no headers, this can be off-putting in terms of people making the effort to read your content.

Are you suggesting the next step for your visitor? For example, is there a strong call to action, links to related information, or obvious next steps in the user journey.

3) Monitor the percentage of returning readers as well as new readers.

This will make you aware of the loyal readership you are gaining within your target market.  If you’re attracting a high percentage of new visitors that may be good for growing your readership, but if you’re readers are not coming back you may be educating for the moment rather than building authority and loyalty.

4) Monitor social interactions. This is a strong indication that your content is relevant and that people are genuinely interested. Monitor the number of times certain content is shared, how many comments are made.                                         

Twitter Blogger  Facebook icon Linkedin

Tip: Interact with comments, your audience is qualifying their interest in your knowledge or service, interacting with them builds relationships and encourages further conversation.

5) Conversion rate by search query term or phrase. You can see that you are being found for what people are searching for, and whether they decided to visit you based on your search listing. You need to then measure whether those visitors went on to enquire or purchase.

Why not support your Blog by improving your Social Media skills? 
If you are looking to improve your knowledge of social media, or if it’s new to you but you want to explore its benefits for your business, come along to our free monthly seminar. Find out more and book your place now.

Twin Town blog part 2

It’s three weeks on since we finished the Twin Town challenge but we wanted to wait until the final donations were in before releasing this part of the blog. With over £111,000 raised the event has blown away everyone’s expectations.

Just Giving Twin Town Chellenge

Before we get back to the story we need to say a few thank you’s

The Twin Town Challenge was a privilege to be a part of. However we could never have participated if not for our amazing support network.

  • The team at Urban Element were eager and enthused from the start of the event. Even though the vast majority would not attend the Twin Town challenge, everyone did their bit to ensure the Urban Agility team left Cornbury Park ready to face the challenge.
  • Matthew Baker turned up in order to hand out 200 cup cakes
  • Mac’s Garage were fundamental in the preparations of the Urban Agility car, offering us a free service for taking part. Take a look at them on Facebook
  • Brian Hicks was a fundamental part of the team, building the Urban Agility bar, fitting the LED lighting, and driving for massive chunks of the journey.
  • A huge thanks goes out to Caroline Hicks who with Sophia Etherington baked the 200 Urban Element cupcakes that we handed out at the start of the event.
  • Thank you Blue Print Imaging for the last minute social media packs and car stickers. blue print imaging
  • Our Social Media community is of huge importance to us and our team of supporters, followers and friends did a wonderful job of spreading the message of SpecialEffect and the Twin Town Challenge.
  • Urban Element are pleased to have been involved in the event, but hats off to Brendan Cross and the STL team who did such a wonderful job of organising the event.


  • Lastly, Urban Element have been proud to support SpecialEffect through the years. We’d like to thank them for the wonderful work they do.

So back to the story…..

Day 3

When we woke the following morning, the sun was bright. It was our last full day in Le Touquet and we were determined to make the most of it. The teams were to meet at a car park in the town centre. So after a relaxed breakfast, ordered with some dodgy French, we left our hotel in high spirits. Unfortunately these spirits were dashed as the big red Citroen, elated to be in its home country, came over all French on us. The check engine light was flashing, indicating that fuel depollution system was not working. We lost all power to the car and could a reach flat out 30 mph meaning that, despite the fact we were about to attend a 15 lap race day, we were the slowest thing on the road. Nevertheless we arrived to the meet on time and as we left the engineers to scratch their heads we did the only thing that seemed appropriate and opened the bar. Despite the early time, the bar was once again a popular destination and proved to be an effective way of connecting with potential clients and talking through their wants and needs for web design and online marketing.

Day3 - Pre race meet - mechanics3

Mechanical difficulties on Day 3

After a few diagnostics were run we were asked if we had turned the car on and off again. We did so and like magic the car purred into life. It was just in time as we were about to leave for our last race track, Croix En Ternois.

Croix En Ternois

The track was an hour’s drive away from Le Touquet. We weaved through beautiful country roads and reached the track at about 11. Here we had two main challenges.

Jon and Tash were bought a beer by track owner, Andre Hequet

Jon and Tash were bought a beer by track owner, Andre Hequet

The first of which was the culmination of the car booty challenge, where a member of the team would have to wear everything we collected and pose on the bonnet of their car. We were still two items short, needing a beret and a string of onions. Luckily Jon was on the case and within moments he arrived with a string of garlic that we cleverly passed off as onions. We tied a scarf around Douglas’ head as a beret and the costume was complete scoring nearly maximum points.

Don’t tell Hobgoblin but the garlic was pillaged from their boot

The next challenge was entitled “Tyred and Emotional” and would involve us changing a tyre on the Citroen. Matt our online marketing manager took the opportunity to bond with Brian over the challenge and we finished well, in a top 10 position. It was turning into a good day for the Urban Agility team. We were unsure as to exactly how long we had on the track, however after some brilliant bargaining from Brendon we were given three sets of 5 laps. Jon took the first set of 5 and hammered the automatic around the track reaching speeds of up to 100 miles an hour. Next it was Douglas’ go, and having never driven an automatic, Matt and Brian bravely decided to watch from the side-lines. Matt took the next stint and even managed a few over takes. Not bad for an Automatic. Whilst being great for charity, events like these also offer ideal opportunities for us to showcase our services and expertise. With many companies attending, we took the opportunity to demonstrate our own skills by handing out free social media and website audits as prizes to certain teams. These prizes included:

Each lucky winner had their company’s website audited with recommendations by our online marketing experts.

007 party

We made our way home, the car smelling like warm rubber and burnt breaks. Tonight was to be the main party night. As Le Touquet was the home of Ian Fleming the party had a 007 theme and all the teams made an effort. SpecialEffect had arranged a street closure complete with live music, charity bars and a ‘money can’t buy’ auction. Brian even managed to get the Urban Agility bar invited along with two charity buckets.

Our Casino Royale Challenge Photo

Our Casino Royale Challenge Photo

We dressed up our finery with tuxes and ball gowns, and Douglas – our token Scott – even brought his kilt along. Here we completed yet another challenge by taking a James Bond inspired photograph. With Food music and drink we celebrated the success of the Twin Town challenge with the locals. Music came from the Village Idiots featuring bassist Mark Saville, a member of the SpecialEffect team. The auction Half way through the night the band took a break and the auction began. Featuring prizes such as a tour around the Wychwood Brewery and an F1 hospitality package, the auction raised over £15,000 for SpecialEffect with some bids in excess of £4,000. Ken Norman from Brethertons Solicitors LLP even stripped for donations. However, the photos have been censored for the time being. After this the Village Idiots took to the stage once more and the Twin Town Challengers carried on into the night.

The journey home

During the night we had raised over £300 from the bar for SpecialEffect and despite our sore heads we were feeling good. We snacked on croissants and set off around 11 hoping to make a 12:30 train. The journey home seemed to take longer than the journey to get here. We hit the road for the last time with heavy eyes. It had been a gruelling weekend of early mornings and late nights. In three days we drove over 1000 miles in the south of England and North of France, all of it in a car that had been bought from an auction for just £450. In the last 4 days that car had been our home, our offices, our entertainment, and at the end of a long day, our favourite bar. And now we were going home. We arrived back in Witney at 15:00, an hour too early for the celebratory BBQ, feeling tired but happy. We knew from social media that some cars had broken down and there were now Twin Town Challengers strewn on both sides of the tunnel. We felt among the lucky ones. A couple months previous, our journey begun at the Twin Town safety briefing at the beautiful Witney Lakes Resort. It was here we parked for the culmination of the journey. We ate food and shared drinks with our fellow challengers. It had been a long, fun, and sometimes hard journey. We had woken early, slept late and broken down. But we had made it and the charity we have supported for the past three years, and continue to support, is now at least £110,000 better off. The Twin Town Challenge had been a huge success. So who is up for it next year?????

Our Experience on the Twin Town Challenge part 1

This May bank holiday weekend Urban Element entered the Twin Town challenge, a four day 1000 mile road trip to raise money for Special Effect. The trip would see us drive a ten year old Citroen with 100,000 miles on the clock from Witney to le Touquet and back again. We would tear around race tracks, lose all power to the car, and even open a bar.

Driving to Brands Hatch

After a long period of preparation, including a free service from Mac’s Garage, the start date had finally arrived.

We met the team at half 6 at the Urban Element offices. For some members this was the first time meeting each other and the road to the official event meet was full of excited chatter. The team consisted of Jon and Natasha Ellard, the directors of Urban Element, Matt Gilbert and Douglas Handford from the Urban Element online marketing team, as well as prospects from St Peters College – and now clients – Brian and Caroline Hicks.

We met the rest of the teams in Cornbury Park, the home of Special Effect. Although we had seen most of the teams’ cars on Facebook and Twitter through the #TwinTown, to see fifty £500 cars lined up with revving engines and Twin Town decals was a sight to behold.

Le Rozzers at Cornbury Park

Le Rozzers at Cornbury Park

Bacon rolls in hand, the team set off to hand out complimentary Urban Element cupcakes and advice packs to help competitors use Social Media and the Twin Town Diary effectively throughout the weekend. We then left Cornbury Park in a fan fare of blaring horns, engine noise, and the sound of an applauding audience as we left.

We hit the road as a convoy and soon we were roaring through the miles. For £450, and 100,000 miles on the clock, the car ran beautifully. It was smooth, fast and the only visible complaint it had was one check engine light –surely nothing to worry about.

Brands Hatch

After a couple hours of trading horn beeps with other competitors and running the Twin Town Diary from our I-Pads, we reached Brands Hatch to be greeted by the sound of super cars. Our Twin Town troop arrived with a carnival atmosphere. Water guns were sprayed, music was played and the Urban Agility team opened up our party trick for the first time – the bar we had installed in our boot.

Day 1 - Cornbury Park - Bar

With a boot full of Gin, Vodka, Jack Daniels, and Beer, and soft drinks for the drivers we were a very popular team.

However soon the short party drew to close and the serious matter of the first challenges began. First up we had a slalom challenge, which involved weaving around a tight obstacle course before reverse parking into a ‘garage’ of cones. Each time a cone was hit it was worth a ten second penalty and each time the car hit the grass it was a 30 second penalty

Matt Gilbert took this first shift and, despite driving a car one and a half times the length of his usual Megane, posted a very reasonable 1 minute thirty.

Next we took on the blind driving challenge where we drove through an obstacle course with a totally blind driver and a team full of navigators. This time Brian took to the wheel with Douglas navigating for him. However what was supposed to be a series of calm instructions soon turned into chaos as the whole team shouted directions. Nevertheless we finished in a decent time and only hit one cone – however we did hit it twice.

Day 1 - Brands - grid insta

After this Douglas took over the driving. Having only had six months’ driving experience and none in an automatic, he looked very confused and asked his team mates where the clutch was.

Three minutes later Matt gilbert took over the driving. Next stop France.

The road to Le Touquet and the night that followed

The road to Le Touquet sailed by. Considering we drove 120 miles, crossed the channel and drove on the left (wrong) side of the road, it was a smooth and easy journey. We even found time to open up the bar in the back of the car, crank up the music and open our very own Eurotunnel nightclub.

Day1 - Tunnel - Bar


We reached our hotel in Etaples at 7, a full 12 hours after we left Cornbury Park, and left for the civic reception for 8. We were hosted in a beautiful church and treated to a buffet of local delicacies. Wychwood set up stands, trading their famous Hobgoblin and special Car-beer-etta ale in exchange for donations. After speeches from the French mayor, event organiser Brendan, and Mick Donegan, founder and Director of Special Effect, a video was shown reminding everyone exactly why we had come all this way.

Following one last toast we had a free night to explore the delights of the sea side town of Le Touquet.

Day 2 in Le Touque

The free night in Le Touquet had left us all with slightly fuzzy heads but the morning brought more challenges. The first of which was a bounty hunt. Over the next 24 hours we would need to collect:

  • A golf tee
  • A string of onions
  • A beret
  • A menu from a local restaurant
  • A tourist pamphlet
  • A ball of any kind
  • A beer mat
  • A children’s beach toy

We explored the town, looking for all we could acquire from the list whilst also making the most of the time we had in Le Touquet. It is a modern yet quintessentially French town, complete with pastry shops, chocolatiers, and coffee shops that drew stark contrast with modern American style bars and restaurants.

We enjoyed a relaxed afternoon where we found a golf tee and a children’s beach toy before heading home.

That evening we met at the Globe Trotter sports bar, a busy but friendly British styled bar. Here we competed in the eye gaze challenge, with Natasha posting a very respectable 1 minute 33 seconds, leaving only a crash between her and the winner at 1 minute 29.

The night rolled on and we managed to collect a menu, a pamphlet, a beer mat, and a ball – meaning that by the time we strolled back for the night the challenge was only half done. With a dead line of 11 the following morning and a one and a half hour road trip to get to the Croix En Ternois race track, that left us approximately zero minutes to find the rest of the items.

Urban Agility would have to get creative.

Part 2 will be arriving shortly. 



Interested in knowing how Social Media can work for you?

Social Media has been a massive part of the Twin Town Challenge and has been incredibly successful in raising awareness and audience for both Special Effect and many of the teams involved. Are you interested in knowing how Social Media can work for you? Why not pop along to one of our TwinTown social media workshops.

Book your place now.


Renovating the Urban Agility Twin Town Chariot


On the first of May, Urban Element welcomed a brand new member to the team – a 10 year old automatic Citroen C5.

If we are being honest, first impressions were not brilliant. Jon Ellard, Urban Element’s MD, tweeted: “Think I just bought an Automatic Citroen for £450 thankfully on provisional bid. I don’t want it.”

Our trepidation was not without good cause. With an unverified 90,000 miles on the clock, the car had seen better days. The tyres were gouged, the bumper was scratched, and the inside looked like a rugby team’s changing room.

But this £450 car was to be our champion in the Twin Town challenge. It was bought for the sole purpose of tackling Brands Hatch and Le Mans in an epic 1000 mile road trip through southern England and northern France.

But if this car was to even make it out of the car park, we had a lot of work to do.


Renovating the Big Red Citroen

As everyone knows, the most important aspect of any rally car is how good it looks. Unfortunately for the big red Citroen, this was always going to be a challenge.

In fact this C5 is the very same model that renowned Automotive Experts Honest John described as: “A serious contender for plastic surgery.”

The first thing we did was get it valeted. The team at Janis Hand car wash did a great job of tidying the car up, inside and out, giving us the perfect base to make our very own improvements.


However this renovation didn’t come without its fair share of hiccoughs. After a poorly thought out attempt to make the car our own (involving a template of the Urban Element logo and a tin of spray paint), Online Marketing Manager Matt Gilbert was forced to take the car home and borrow his wife’s nail polish remover to wash off a stain that looked suspiciously like bird mess. It was not a good start.

Despite this, we queued the top gear music and worked hard to create a car we’re proud of. We added the sponsorship logos to the bonnet and wings of the car. We added check flag decals to the roof, side mirrors, and rear bumper.

We even bought some fluffy dice to hang from the rear view mirror.



The New Face of Urban Agility

In just 8 days the car that was so cruelly mocked by Honest John – and our very own Jon – has been through a much tougher journey then any road trip.

It now looks good.


It has been transformed from a grubby, disowned, family saloon in to a clean and lean touring car. With decals and sponsorship stickers we have gifted the car some of the racing pedigree that Citroen forgot.

And the best thing is, we are now proud to call it our own.

But making the car look good is only the first half of the transformation. Now we pass the car over to team member Brian Hicks who has some truly incredible plans to upgrade the interior and make this a car that will leave all the other teams green with envy. Sorry about that.

We have some innovative plans for the Twin Town Challenge. Follow us on Twitter and like us on Facebook to be the first to see how our project works out.

#UrbanBites – 5 top tips for an SEO friendly website migration

Welcome back to #UrbanBites – a Twitter series where where we talk through the week’s top tips for all things web design and online marketing.

This week we posted our five top tips on how to carry out your website migration without losing all the time and effort spent on your SEO campaign.

Web migration is a term used to describe the moving of your website  from one host to another. This this may be done if you are up scaling, moving to a more reliable host, or if you are upgrading your Content management system (CMS) to some thing more powerful such as Business Catalyst.

Whilst there are  many advantages to a website migration – a move like this can have a drastic effect on the websites presence. If the necessary precautions are not taken then you could see a huge dip in your website traffic and a massive hit taken to your business.

However there are steps you can take to avoid this dip, and last week our SEO team delivered their five top tips for an SEO friendly website migration.

web migration tips

These are five incredibly valuable steps that should be taken before requesting a new crawl from the search engines. Of course this is not an exhaustive list  and if you need extra help in getting all the boxes ticked and making sure you are ready for your SEO migration, please do get in touch.

At Urban Element we know a thing or two about website migration. With a strong relationship with Adobe Business Catalyst, our Oxfordshire based web design and online marketing teams are experienced at converting websites to function with a powerful CMS.

If you would like to know more about what we do and how we can help your business, why not have a look at our online marketing and web design services? Or if you want to speak to us directly, please contact us.


#UrbanBites: Blogging tips

In case you missed it on twitter this week, Urban Element have started a new series called #UrbanBites. The series will provide bite sized hints and tips that get your creativity flowing and inspire you to optimise your digital presence.

This week #UrbanBites was focused on blogging tips. Blogs have become a must have feature on all websites and effective blogging can create a huge return on your investment. You can see a run down of our tweets here:


#urban bites 1

In the digital age people have much more control over their media channels and as a result push marketing has fallen out of favour. This means that running an active and well thought out blog is one of the best ways to get your message across in a soft yet engaging way. Getting your blogging strategy right can be the difference between creating content for content sake, and creating content that encourages your visitors to actively engage with your business.

The Urban Element online marketing team includes professional SEO copy writers who know a thing or two about blogging. So if any of our Urban Bites have inspired you to review your blogging activities, you can find out more about what we do and how we can help your business by visiting the online marketing page or by contacting us.

Urban Element Welcome 2 New Employees

Urban Element are happy to announce that we have hired two new recruits into our growing team. We would like to welcome Front End Developer Chris Sawyer, and Online Marketing Manager Matt Gilbert to the team.

Chris Sawyer – Front End Developer

Chris is a talented Front End Developer. He joined Urban Element after two years’ experience of working on a freelance basis. During this time he worked on a range of different sites and developed a varied and comprehensive set of skills.

These skills have already seen Chris working within the Core Business process and working on various support tasks including implementing Schema mark-ups for many clients and developing the home page for Beaumont Forest.

Chris originally joined us on a two week internship, but it wasn’t long before he impressed by building a Core Business website from the ground up in record time. After this he was invited to Join Urban Element full time.

Chris said: “I was excited about the offer. I had been working freelance and I saw an opportunity to join a growing company with a lot of ambition.”

Chris’s biggest wins so far are getting up to speed with Business Catalyst, discovering areas to improve the system, and helping to develop an exciting new frame work for future builds.

Currently he is using this experience to build Urban Element’s new mobile responsive website. About the build, Chris said: “The site will be the first of many sites that are built off of Urban Elements new frame work. It’s an interesting build and I’m enjoying the atmosphere and process within the Urban Element team.”

Find out about how Chris can help you as part of the Web Design team.

matt and chris

Matt Gilbert – Online Marketing Manager

Matt has been brought in to lead the Online Marketing team. He is an experienced Digital Marketer and has worked in the industry for a number of years. His background is primarily in Digital Marketing in Oxford, but he has also enjoyed roles in Web development, Google Adwords Management, and Market Research.

With experience in Social Media, SEO, Content Creation, Pay Per Click, he can help the team concentrate on the best and right areas of marketing for different clients.

Matt said: “I’m extremely excited about the role. The team and clients are two obvious attractions, but the diversity that the role offers is a big positive for me. I love building relationships with clients, working with people to make their online activity deliver tangible results that mean they and I alike get satisfaction from the work. I’m also very excited about the atmosphere at Urban Element. There is a great balance between working smartly and enjoying life in the office.”

Matt joined Urban Element from a Digital Marketing Agency in North Oxford, managing a range of B2B and B2C clients across a host of sectors from retail and ecommerce, to charity and financial services. Prior to that he worked for a large industrial manufacturer, building their online presence and online sales

Matt has already had a number of encouraging early successes. With the team we’ve introduced several new procedures that will help going forward. These are based around QA of new website launches, content creation, and streamlining core tasks. All of which should help deliver better results of our clients.

Of the company itself Matt said “When I first met Jon and Natasha I could immediately see that the vision and approach they had for Urban Element was one that I found exciting and shared. The company is creating truly exciting work that I am already proud to be part of.”

Find out about more about how Matt can you as part of the Online Marketing team.



WOBA 2014

This year Urban Element entered for the West Oxfordshire Business Awards (Woba). The company entered the Strategic Mentors Best Small Business Award and our newly appointed Director, Natasha Wood, was put forward for West Oxfordshire’s Business Person of the Year Award.

Unfortunately we didn’t make it through to this year’s finals.

Despite the disappointment of not going through to this year’s finals, Urban Element gained some valuable insights into how the company is working and where we can go to improve even more.

What we’ve learned

Entering WOBA made us proactive with due diligence. We reviewed where we’ve come from and where we plan to go.

Over the past five years we have developed as a company.

Re-Branding Urban Element as a web design and online marketing company allowed us to weather the credit crunch and take the steps we needed to grow.

Since then we have expanded and a young, dynamic, and dedicated team was put into place. By keeping up to date with changes in technology we were able to stay in the forefront of web design. Combining this with our strong process and aim for return on investment, our portfolio is testament to the progress we have made.


Urban Element have evolved with the times.

Jon Ellard, Managing Director, said: “The WOBA experience made us sense check our plans for expanding. We were able to review ourselves within a fresh context. What we discovered is that we have all the foundations in place, have ticked all the right boxes, and have sense checked the plans to open a new office in July.”

WOBA allowed us to look back on all this change and confirm that we are ready for the next step.

How our participation in WOBA has helped the team

WOBA has been a really positive experience for the team. We have enjoyed taking part and have taken a lot from the process.

One thing that sets us apart from our competitors is our mantra of providing return on investment. Of course we keep an eye on our completed projects and actively measure our Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) performance. One of the tasks we undertook for WOBA was to contact clients and ask them what their return was.

We had some wonderful feedback including from John Warren of AirTanker LTD who said: “Ever since our first meeting, the AirTanker LTD Services and Urban Element teams enjoyed a high level of rapport.  Relationships were open and honest from day one and we fully believe that that supported successful delivery. That we continue to work with Urban Element and will continue to do so going forward, is testimony in itself.”

We pride ourselves in everything we do, and having our work commended from outside goes a long way to justifying our approach and rewarding the team’s efforts.

WOBA offered a wonderful opportunity for the team to get together and remind ourselves what it is that makes Urban Element the company it is today. By exploring our past work and reminding ourselves of our goals, we are able to refresh our vision for the future.

click the image to meet the team

click the image to meet the team

Well done to our clients

Despite not making the finals, there was some great news that came out of the WOBA finalist selections.

One of our biggest ever tenders, AirTanker LTD, was nominated for the CETA Insurance Large Business Award. Using HTML 5 and CSS 3 we built AirTanker LTD a cutting edge mobile responsive website with an SEO friendly layout. As a completed project it very much feels like the culmination of 5 years of growth.

It was also good news for our sponsored charity SpecialEffect, and our SEO client Feathered Nest Inn, who are both going up for the Mark-Making Social Media Award.

We have worked with Feathered Nest since 2009.  They have a website that is indexed highly in search rankings and generating real return on investment.

SpecialEffect have been our chosen charity for the past 3 years. We built their site and have continued to help with their web support and online marketing. Most recently we have been heavily involved in their efforts with marketing and are taking part in the Twin Town Challenge.

Mick Donegan, Founder and Director of the charity said: “It’s an honour. For a small charity to be a finalist in such a prestigious event is fantastic. Social Media is at the heart of what we do. It’s the perfect medium for us to reach gamers and really speak their language.”

Mick went on to say “Urban Element have been the difference in our perception, changing the whole brand image and turning us into a professional looking outfit. They’re real game changers”

We wish all our clients the very best and we will of course be attending the final to cheer them on.



After the publication of this post, the winners of WOBA 2014 were announced. It was brilliant news for two of our clients, SpecialEffect and AirTanker LTD who both won awards.

AirTanker LTD won the prestigious CETA Large Business award. As world leaders in their industry they beat Huffkins and  Data Plastics to the honor, proving themselves to be among the best that Oxfordshire has to offer.

SpecialEffect won the mark-making Social Media award, and with Twitter and Facebook followers growing quickly and a YouTube channel that has gone from 26,000 views to nearly 130,000 we think they are very deserving of the award.

Unfortunately, Feathered Nest Inn were up for the same award and were just pipped to the prize. Despite this they had a brilliant time at the awards and can continue 2014 knowing that they are up there with the best.

Urban Element would like to congratulate everyone who was nominated for this years WOBA’s and wish everyone the best for the future.


It goes without saying we would have liked to write a blog about how excited we were to be selected for this year’s finals, but WOBA 2014 was still a very positive experience for everyone at Urban Element.

Through due diligence, client feedback and company morale we can see that 2013 was a year of positive change and development at Urban Element. WOBA 2014 was a positive experience for Urban Element and we have learned a lot from taking part – not just about who we are, but where we want to go.

Why you should be involved with Twin Town Challenge

5 ways to support the SpecialEffect Twin Town Challenge and 5 Commercial Advantages of being involved.

The aims of this blog are:

1)      To create awareness of SpecialEffect and the Twin Town Challenge

2)      To give entrants, supporters and sponsors 5 easy ways to support SpecialEffect’s online presence

3)      To create a discussion around 5 commercial advantages of entering a team

1)  To create awareness of SpecialEffect and the Twin Town Challenge


SpecialEffect are a West Oxfordshire based charity who use technology to better the lives of disabled people. Their mission is to enable anyone, whatever the disability, to enjoy video games and leisure technology. Using specially designed computer games they aim to kick start rehabilitation, raise self-esteem and help participation. You can see some of the wonderful work they do in this video of Charlotte, a 4 year old who lost substantial part of her four limbs to meningitis.

In 2011 Urban Element designed their new website and we would encourage you to visit in order to find out more. 

‘SpecialEffect have to increase their fundraising by over a third this year, from around £450,000 to £750,000, in order to meet the demand for their services.’

Mark Saville SpecialEffect

The Twin Town Challenge 23rd May to 26th May 2014

1 Weekend, 3 Race Tracks, 12 Challenges, 1000 Miles in a £500 Car!

Are you up for the challenge? Join the Twin Town challenge from Witney to France on 23-26 May 2014.

‘In a year when a significant increase in revenue is necessary to fulfil requests for support, the primary objective of the SpecialEffect Twin Town Challenge is to raise a minimum of £75k for the charity and the secondary objective is to place the fundraising needs of SpecialEffect firmly in the minds of the participating organisations’.

Brendon Cross
Managing Director STL


To find out more please visit –


2)   To give entrants, supporters and sponsors 5 easy ways to support Special Effect’s online presence

The target is to increase these figures by 25% before May 2014 and by a further 25% during the 3 day event itself. So how can you help?

Before the promotion of this event started SpecialEffect had:

–          On average 12,500 Monthly Website views

–          5,683 Twitter Followers

–          3,037 FaceBook likes

–          71,097 YouTube Views

In the last 3 weeks this has increased to:

–          Websites visits tbc

–          5,722 Twitter Followers

–          3,078 FaceBook likes

–         73,237  YouTube Views

So the first easy way for you to help support SpecialEffect is to:

The more people actively engaging in the #TwinTown community there are, the more likely it is that the event will trend, and the charity will gain its well deserved recognition.


Secondly, if you have entered the challenge please register and complete your profile page and encourage you online community to visit.

There are up to 250 points available for completing your profile:

25 points just for completing the basic profile entry fields


50 points for the team that get the most FaceBook profile likes by the start of the challenge (23rd May 14)

75 points for the team that get the most profile Tweets by the start of the challenge (23rd May 14)

100 points for the team with the best profile (to be decided by the Judges). Note: outrageous photos and a fully completed profile will form part of the judging.

If you haven’t entered already please seriously consider entering. The final part of this blog will detail some of the commercial benefits. If you don’t enter please still visit the profile pages and find out more about the businesses involved (you never know you may find a new supplier there with a common cause).

Thirdly, please comment and contribute to the SpecialEffect blog and supporters blogs:

SpecialEffect will be writing a few but please start by commenting on the link below:

Fourthly, if you can’t enter please consider a donation or prize for the Gala BBQ and Prize Giving on 26th May 14.

Donate here

Contact Mark or Nick on Email:

Finally, SpecialEffect and the Twin Town organisers couldn’t have got this far without the initial sponsorship from:





So please view their sites and support their social media platforms.

3)  To create a discussion around 5 commercial advantages of entering a team

We know that some people will be looking at the event and sitting on the fence, wondering what benefit will come from getting involved. But we think that the question you need to ask yourself is can you afford not to be involved?

At Urban element, we support SpecialEffect for the cause – but we also know that being involved in the event will increase our company profile. The following 5 points will hopefully start some conversation and debate around the commercial benefits:

1)      Content is King for your website and Social Media Strategy

The Twin Town Challenge will provide you with great content for your news / blogs, newsletters and social media channels. Discuss why you are involved, the synergy with your products & services and how the challenge matches core values and company ethics. One of our core values is guts, humour, and fun which ties in nicely with this challenge. So find your angle and then put in place a 6 month communication plan.

If you are new to the world of social media we are running a complimentary workshop on Twitter and LinkedIn for Twin Town entrants. To book please visit

2)      Team Building / Morale

Involve your team and take satisfaction in the changes it makes in the workplace. Like many companies, we want our office to be a vibrant fun place to work, and using the Twin Town Challenge as a base, we have a splendid plan to do this.

Which is why we will be holding team building events and internal competitions, the overall winner of which will be invited to join the team as they race around Britain and France. We know that working towards this event has already boosted morale within the company and the events we have planned will only continue to help.

3)      Networking and Offers

Your team will be sharing the experience with 74 other businesses and teams. Through the pre events, online marketing and the three day challenge itself you will have the perfect opportunity to refer business, build relationships and promote your products and services. Start by completing your profile and adding links to your website and social media channels. Then follow, like and connect with race competitors. If you want to go the whole hog then tailor a product, package, offer and or a promotion for the other entrants. We are offering a complimentary website review to all entrants which we will discuss with the entrant over the three day challenge. Bridle Insurance have come up with this amazing offer:

Bridle committed to donate their fee/commission from any business or household insurance policy taken out by any business or person taking part in the Twin Town Challenge 2014.

4)     Business Development with Customers and Suppliers

A quick and simple win in inviting a key customer or supplier. Who do you want to win more work from? Who do you want to do more work with? Invite them, share the experience and see the relationship develop.

5)      Good Marketing and Public Relations (PR)

When it comes to Marketing and PR we thought we would refer to the experts and two fellow supporters of the Twin Town Challenge (TTC).

“Make sure you maximise the PR opportunities that the TTC presents for your organisation. Maybe ask the local paper to cover your car’s send off from your office or get your suppliers to sponsor bits of the car and have a photo with them as a thank you. Trade press are always happy to print a good photo and good images are everything and having a car with logos on and your team in corporate kit will mean lots of good profile in photo opportunities.

Don’t forget to send the TTC marketing team details or links to any press coverage so that they can use it too on the TTC website and in their social media – more coverage for you – and don’t forget that the words you write for the press release can be used on your website as news, as a blog and on all your social media pages.

Finally, during the rally it is a good idea to post a daily blog with photos and to use Facebook and Twitter (don’t forget to use the #TwinTown) and remember to send out a press release afterwards to your trade press – milk the PR opportunities to your benefit!”

Jo Sensecall

Marketing Sense

“Entering the Special Effect Twin Town Challenges gives your company, your product and your brand a number of fantastic and unique PR opportunities to engage with your community and target media.  Ultimately the event is about raising funds and the profile of an incredible charity but in doing so your participation offers the added bonus of spreading your messages and raising your own company profile.   Some tips on how to benefit from your involvement:

*  Sign up as early as you can – giving you more time to maximise the opportunities

*  Look at fun and creative ways to involve your community eg customers, media, suppliers – from asking for sponsorship, running competitions to design the look of the car, to helping you find a car.

*  Use the Twin Town Challenge blog to share your progress eg pimping the car

*  Let everyone within your company know that you’re taking part and make them part of the support team and encourage them to contribute ideas – with everyone on board you can enhance your reach via social media.

* Photos and video – take lots!  Share them with us – together with any news on unusual cars, team outfits etc and we’ll use them in our PR/social media efforts.

*  Maybe bring a journalist or customer with you – spending time together ‘off the clock’ can create strong relationships.

From fun photo opportunities, to competitions to name a car or design the car’s exterior the scope is as broad as you want to make it.”

Alison Beasley

Lincoln Beasley

So the final words from us are ‘Get involved and spread the word’

Jon Ellard and Natasha Wood

Urban Element