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Britain Tops the E-Commerce Charts 8 April 2008

Britain is way ahead in the European shopping stakes. A whopping £5 billion (approx 6.31 billion euros) in online sales ahead of its closest European competitor, in fact.

The figures come from a recent study conducted by data supplier Mintel, which also reports that last year Brits racked up £12.8 billion (16.16 billion euros) worth of online sales. In contrast, the Italians and the Spanish favoured brick-and-mortar shopping, spending just 1.1 and one billion euros respectively. Germany fared well with a total of 13 billion euros (£10.3 billion) worth of sales.

And the UK online market shows no real signs of slowing down. It has shown a healthy 75% growth over the last two years alone. What’s more, UK online sales are expected to increase by as much as 200% over the next four years to hit £44.36 billion (56 billion euros). says Mintel.

Do you sell your products or services online? If not, why not? there’s a burgeoning market out there…

You can double, triple or even quadruple your sales when you learn the dynamics of selling online and how to easily apply it your business. 

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When English is Bad For Business 25 March 2008

The March 2008 issue of ‘Communiqué for Success’ is ready for public viewing (for a limited time only). Subscribers get privileged, advanced notification and member offers and specials, so be sure to sign up for your free copy.

This issue of the much-talked-about newsletter answers such questions as:

• Why is old-school English damaging your sales?

• What is the future for CfS?

• How can you move your prospects beyond wanting to buying?

• What is the best way to avoid toxic clients?

• How can you grab your ad critique & consultation?

• Where can you get free online fax services? 

All the answers (and more) are in this month’s newsletter.

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Word count for this issue: 2,223

Approximate time to read: About 11 minutes    

Scanning Time: About 41 seconds

Suggested props: White Hot Chocolate with Marshmallows
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You can see the current and some of the past newsletters by going towww.mediaminister.co.uk and clicking on the “F*REE stuff” link on the top menu.

And it’s all freeeeeeeeeeeee.

Enjoy!

 

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Customer Retention in an Uncertain Market 3 March 2008

The latest edition of ‘Communiqué for Success’ is now available for public viewing (subscribers get advanced notice when it’s hot off the press). It answers such questions as:

• How can you retain customers in an uncertain market?

• What is happening to CfS – and what does it mean for you?

• How can you win the attention of the growing digital marketplace?

• What is the number one secret to effective marketing?

• How can you successfully market online?

• Where can you get free online hosting? 

All the answers (and more) are ready to be revealed.

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Word count for this issue: 2,613
Approximate time to read: About 12.5 minutes    Scanning Time: About 45 seconds
Suggested props: Organic Hot Chocolate or NoCaf
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You can see the current and most of the past newsletters by going to www.mediaminister.co.uk and clicking on the “FREE stuff” link on the top menu.

You’ll also find direct links to my other sites.And it’s all freeeeeeeeeeeee (for now).

Enjoy!Tracey

PS – The direct link to the latest newsletter is —http://www.mediaminister.co.uk/cfs/19February2008.htm

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8 Tips to Improve Ezine Copy 26 February 2008

  1. As your ezine is free, do not give away your best content (save that for your paid-for service).
  2. Offer the editor’s personal commentary/angle on news of the industry you cover.
  3. Have the editor develop a voice — people respond to people, not organisations.
  4. Use transparency. Show your editorial process (where you’ve been, whom you’ve spoken with, etc). In other words, show, don’t tell.
  5. Return to core themes. Champion your reader’s concerns. Work their deeper emotions. Find solutions.
  6. Show a personal side. Disarm your reader and develop a relationship by throwing in personal information (“While I was riding my bike this weekend, it struck me that…”).
  7. Differentiate yourself in the market. Use this regular contact with readers to develop special ideas and opinions that give you a chance to develop a niche or unique selling proposition.
  8. Use your ezine as a testing facility for new products. Ask for feedback. Offer teaser versions of new products and see what kind of response you get.

Source: Nic Laight, Fleet Street Publications / SEPA

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Online Marketing: Why Colour Matters 15 February 2008

Subscription marketing expert Don Nicholas says colour certainly matters in online marketing.

Don says that when a publisher did an A/B split test of two versions of his landing page, one fared substantially better than the other. The only difference was that one had an order button that said “Order Now” in navy blue type on a dark orange (ochre) background, while the other version had black font on a red background.

The navy/ochre order button generated 27% more orders than the red button – more proof as to how seemingly small changes can make a big difference to the bottom line.

Why such a big difference, though? Well, most people regard the colour red as ‘hot’ and attention-seeking. But in certain online and offline marketing elements it can work against you. This is because red also means “Stop!”

Says Don: “Is that really what you want the reader to do when he gets to a button that says ‘order now’?”

Source: NEPA Presentation on Landing Pages  

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Avoiding the ‘Delete’ Key 23 January 2008

Aside from the barrage of spam emails singing the virtues of the likes of cunning cialis, very viagra, plenty penis, wonky watches, email marketing still works. 

The key is targeting. (Of course, I’m assuming that you already have an opt-in list. Shame on you if you do not!) 

Gloss over correctly identifying your target market, and your email campaign will sink faster than The Titanic. 

Once you know who will buy your products or services, then you need to know what kind of offer they will lap up. That decided, you still need to do some leg work…

What kind of language is your target audience familiar with? What ‘trigger’ words will catch their attention? How can you appeal to their emotions while offering something useful? Can you engage them into a ‘conversation’ with your copy? Is what you are offering –– both in terms of content and the actual offer –– relevant

The point is that you don’t want to waste your prospects’ time (or test their patience) with self-serving general nonsense.  


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Advertising vs Direct Mail 18 January 2008

I received the following question recently, which sums up a lot of the emails I get from clients and prospects:

“I sell stress relieving and health giving ‘brainwave’ products, but seem to hit a brick wall with advertising. It’s really not paying off for me. Can you recommend any ways I can do better?”

––Kath Browning, via email

For small businesses, I don’t think advertising is necessarily the best form of marketing/promoting your products. Sure, you might well receive some response if your message is compelling enough and the desired target audience is reading the publication in which you advertise. Also, your product base is a niche one; one that is potentially difficult to explain and get across the benefits in the space of a typical advert.

In any event, I’d suggest using direct mail (sales letters, postcards, etc). It has a number of distinct advantages over advertising:

  1. You can target recipients much more precisely.  
  2. Costs are a lot more modest than advertising. The great thing with direct mail is that it allows for you to create a campaign to fit either large or small budgets.  
  3. You can see a response from direct mail very quickly. With a modest campaign to a known and targeted audience, you can acquire a mailing list, develop a compelling mailing (including a sales letter, flyer, reply card device, etc), launch that mailing and start to receive results in just a few weeks, if not months. This is faster than a typical advertising campaign (whereby you normally have to repeat adverts to get any result) – and a lot faster than waiting for the phone to ring.  
  4. You can test different appeals (called ‘offers’ in the trade) to determine which is the better message to run with for other campaigns. By making a different offer to randomly different portions of your mailing list, you can see which offer pulls best. As you try these different offers and different letters, you should find that one will do better than another. Use the better one, and then try to beat that in your next mailing. Eventually, you should get better and better response rates.   
  5. You can mail to the same list again with a slightly different mailing slant and still garner worthwhile results. Most direct-mail experts say that companies don’t get enough mileage out of their materials. Use them until they no longer produce any worthwhile results.  
  6. You can never run out of prospects. Use your imagination to find new niche direct-mail markets for your products, whether retail or business-to-business. Your list broker or direct-mail consultant should be able to suggest possible target markets that are worth trying.  
  7. When you place an advert, you have to be sure that your target audience will actually open up the publication and turn to the page where your ad appears. No one can predict or guarantee this. Because direct mail is (or should be) much more tightly targeted, then the likelihood is that your audience will want to read what you have to say. You have already identified these people as having a need for your products, so all you have to do is make sure your offer and outer-envelope message has a relevant appeal.

This is not a sell for my services! I just want to let you know that there are other, often easier ways of garnering the results you’re looking for.

If you do want to carry on with ads, the best way to achieve a better result is to:

  • Repeat your ad. You really do need to be consistent in your advertising (at least three consequent issues), whatever form of media you use.   
  • If you did your own design and layout, asking sales reps to help with that can really boost impact – it should be a free service when you purchase ad space.

I hope this helps, and I wish you success whichever direction you take.

Do let me know how it all goes.

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