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HTTPS encryption – time to act or face damage to your brand

By John Woods  |  February 23, 2018

Does your website use HTTPS yet?

HTTPS is not just about security: it is also essential for many modern browser features.

For several years, Google has been gently encouraging websites to move to secure HTTPS. Google has offered a gentle nudge with the carrot of somewhat-improved search rankings.

But the carrot hasn’t worked very well. In our most recent research, a whopping 87% of our sample of B2B companies were still using non-secure HTTP for their websites.

So Google has reached for the stick. If your website is not using HTTPS by July 2018, visitors using Google’s Chrome browser will see a “not secure” warning:

Treatment of HTTP Pages


Google Chrome is by far the most popular web browser at the moment, with about 65% market share on desktop and about 50% on mobile (see So if you don’t move your website to HTTPS by July 2018, more than half of your visitors will see a “not secure” warning on every page.

A security warning isn’t the end of the world, but at best it is distracting for web visitors. It’s an ongoing blot on your website’s user experience which will result in lost conversions and drip-drip damage to your brand.

So it’s time to act: get a plan in place to switch your website to HTTPS before July 2018.

Don’t say we didn’t warn you!

For advice about switching a website to https – or  replacing your outdated B2B website with a new one with https built in! – contact Sharp Ahead today.

People Watching Firework Display

Sharp Ahead Highlights of 2017

By John Woods  |  January 2, 2018

I’m writing this in that quiet time between Christmas and New Year. It’s a great time for reflection. It has been a busy year for us at Sharp Ahead with some significant achievements of which I’m really proud.

Here are some of my personal highlights for this year.

Digital marketing driving expansion at the Fareham Innovation Centre

The launch of the Fareham Innovation Centre was one of our first lead generation projects in the commercial property sector. Using a mix of paid media and conversion-optimised landing pages we helped the new centre build its community of local entrepreneurs and growing businesses in specialist sectors such as advanced engineering, marine technology and aerospace. As a result the building was fully subscribed within a year of opening – two years ahead of schedule.

In 2017 we learned that the spectacular success of the launch has led to a second phase of investment. Construction is now well under way to double the size of the centre, and the new space will be opening in Spring 2018.

The results of B2B marketing are often intangible, so it’s really satisfying to see the real-world impact of our work in the form of a brand-new building!

Ultra-modern lead generation for a long-established business

CLEAN Linen Services can trace its history to a single family-run laundry established in 1886. Today it is a market leader in textile and workwear laundry services, serving over 5,500 customers across the UK. CLEAN has invested in modern technology to deliver its services, including RFID tagging for inventory control and highly efficient new laundry facilities to reduce environmental impacts.

So perhaps it is not surprising that this highly innovative “traditional” business has also been willing to invest in the latest digital marketing techniques. Our work with CLEAN has seen its online lead generation accelerate by 50%.

It’s great to be part of a project that proves how even businesses in “traditional” industries can benefit enormously from modern digital marketing techniques if – like CLEAN – they have the confidence and vision to embrace new approaches.

New market segments for YPO

Another Sharp Ahead client with a somewhat “traditional” history is YPO, a procurement specialist providing over 30,000 products to schools, local authorities and other customers – mostly in the public sector.

Our work with YPO has focussed on cost-effective strategies for new client acquisition. The results have been excellent in their traditional market segments, with in excess of £1M incremental profit attributable to the campaigns. A particular highlight for me is that our work has allowed YPO to identify new market segments (such as childrens’ centres and prisons) that offer opportunities for strategic growth outside their traditional core sectors.

Other highlights in brief

Many of our projects are confidential, so some of our most exciting projects have to stay under wraps. Amongst the highlights I can’t describe in detail: this year we’ve helped a major global manufacturer enter the UK market with a new B2B ecommerce product; we’ve worked on a massively successful long-term lead generation for one of the UK’s fastest-growing professional services companies; and we’ve developed a super-efficient tactical lead generation campaign for a niche B2B consultancy company that uses some of the most precise targeting for digital marketing that I’ve ever seen.

It has been a great year where our clients’ successes have really shown the value of the work we do as an agency.

Are you thinking about how to drive increased B2B business success in 2018? If so, get in touch to explore how Sharp Ahead could help you.

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