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Your guide to opening a pop-up store

June 22, 2015 by Marketing Donut contributor

Your guide to opening a pop-up store{{}}Have you been thinking about setting up a pop-up shop to expand your customer base? Pop-up shops can be flexible and cost-effective but there are some key things you need to consider to ensure you get the most out of this opportunity.

Step one: Make a plan

Like a business plan for your business, you need to identify your main objectives before you create your pop-up store. It may that you are an online retailer and, following in the footsteps of Google and other well-known online brands, you have decided you want to take your online business to the high street.

A pop-up shop is a good way to dip your toe in the water before you commit to the overheads of a permanent base. Perhaps you just want to give customers the chance to meet you and be able to see and touch your products before they buy. Or you may want to find a rich source of new customers that have yet to hear about what you do.

Let your objectives guide the concept of your store to ensure that it supports your aims and delivers results.

Step two: Identify your customer base

Still at the planning stage, you need to determine who you are aiming your pop-up shop at. Your online customer demographic may be surprisingly different to the demographic of the people you get through the physical door. This information will also have an important bearing on the location of your store.

Step three: Choose your location

Look at the demographics of the areas you are considering as a location for your pop-up store. But choosing location is just as much about budget as it is about customer demographic. Don't overstretch your finances as there is marketing expenditure that needs to be met.

Keep an open mind; a big city location is not automatically better than a rural venue for instance. Websites like Appear Here allow you to browse through hundreds of possible locations for a pop-shop around the country.

It's also worth finding out who you will be working alongside. A jewellery designer may do really well by sharing space with a more established clothing business, for instance.

Don't rush into anything. Even with a short tenancy, you may have to sign a lease and there may be terms and conditions that need ironing out. And don't forget insurance, including public liability and contents.

Step four: Create a buzz

You may have a wonderful pop-up shop in the perfect spot, but if you think this means people will automatically appear at your door and snap up your stuff, you are very much mistaken.

The key ingredient in any successful pop-up store is the buzz around it. You will need to make full use of a range of marketing activities to generate excitement and attract visitors to your store.

Offline marketing activities include everything from adverts in the local paper, to press articles, to flyers through doors and posters on bus stops. Tell people you are coming and what you have to offer. A good way to attract attention is to hold events at your shop, such as a launch party or workshops.

Important online marketing activities include social media and website promotion. Create a hashtag campaign that can be used across all your social media platforms and keep it active through the life of your pop-up store.

Some pop-up stores create separate but linked online personas so that the pop-up shop has its own path to customers.

Step 5: Review it

A pop-up store may be a short-term marketing experiment or it could be a regular way to shift excess stock from the warehouse. Whatever your goals, you must review progress and adjust your strategy accordingly.

One thing's for sure, the pop-up store is a concept that more and more customers are becoming familiar with…and they enjoy it too. So why not see if your pop-up shop could become a reality?

Copyright © 2015 James Trotter, Colour Graphics.

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Solving the big data dilemma

June 17, 2015 by Marketing Donut contributor

Solving the big data dilemma{{}}Never before have we had so much data at our disposal. It's being generated at a staggering rate and it's coming from all directions.

While impossible to measure with complete accuracy, computing giant IBM predicts that, by 2020, the global population will generate 35 billion terabytes of data every year – and that figure is only likely to go up.

It's this data that can tell us what the weather will be like tomorrow, which route to take to work in the morning and even when to start preparing for natural disasters. For marketers, though, it's the key to achieving the best possible results for clients.

Why now?

Society's growing reliance on technology is the most obvious reason for this deluge; we live in a world of constantly connected consumers who spend their days working and playing across sizeable collections of devices. They interact with businesses through various channels; with every single interaction generating some kind of data.

The potential power of this information – and the competitive advantage it offers – is too great to ignore. Skills and confidence are as important as they've always been to business success, but they must be complemented by intelligence.

For every new opportunity, however, there exists a new obstacle. Harvesting data is a big enough task in itself – you then have to manage it effectively and turn it into insight.

Technology as a solution

Everyone from small business owners to digital specialists have countless tools to help them collect and generate the information they need to make better decisions.

But while each tool satisfies a specific need, it only provides one piece of a much larger intelligence puzzle. In order to truly understand how a website or campaign is performing, you have to collect all the pieces.

A flawed approach

Recent research suggests that digital agencies rely on some 17 different marketing technologies. But it takes time to aggregate all this data. And these tools are being used by competitors too, so any insights won't necessarily be unique. You have to dig deeper if you're to get ahead.

You can't just use data for data's sake. The focus should be on collecting and using information that is relevant to your business and your website – information that can be turned into actionable intelligence.

With this in mind, a shift in the industry is inevitable.

A time for change

At present, the industry exists in two clear but very different places. At one end of the spectrum, you have the types of agencies most people will be familiar with: teams of specialists offering traditional digital marketing services like SEO, web design, content and PPC.

Then there are the software companies, providing technology designed to complete specific parts of the puzzle. It tends to be assumed, therefore, that customers will have the knowledge and expertise to use the data they harvest effectively.

In the near future, this gap won't exist. It will be filled by forward-thinking agencies looking to combine their two most valuable resources – specialist expertise and technology – to generate better results for their clients.

A new age of in-house technology

The key to success lies in the development and use of proprietary data platforms that bring every bit of useful information together in one place, and make it easy to digest and act on.

Instead of spending their time going through the same chain of data sources every time they need to accurately measure the performance of a website, specialists will have all of the relevant data ready and waiting for them. They can then focus their efforts on making decisions that directly impact their clients' campaigns.

This shift is about more than just saving time – it's about creating better intelligence. The countless individual pieces of information already out there may hold value in isolation, but their true potential will only be realised once they can be analysed side-by-side and put into context. Bring these pieces of data together and they become a whole lot more powerful, highlighting opportunities that may not have been noticed before.

Turning big data into big insight

It's clear that the marketing industry is moving in this direction, and in five years' time, the average agency will look very different to its present day equivalent. Amid all this talk of technology, though, it's important not to forget the value of knowledge and understanding. Automation is a key part of this transition, but the human element is still as crucial as ever.

Data is only powerful when it's partnered with knowledge and understanding. The goal is obviously to turn big data into big insight, but unless it's then used to influence decisions, it's going to waste. In essence, data is useless without the right specialists to interpret and act on it.

There's now so much information to manage, but only a limited number of specialists who know how to use it properly. With all of the integration and aggregation work taken out of the equation by innovative new data tools, though, these experts can focus on what they do best: getting results for their clients.

At present, this innovative model has been adopted only by those at the forefront of the industry – but it's safe to say the rest will follow before long.

Copyright © 2015 Tom Chapman at Vertical Leap.

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How to get journalists on side

June 15, 2015 by Ashley Carr

How to get journalists on side{{}}If you are doing your own PR then you may well be having a hard time figuring out why you are not getting a huge amount of coverage.

It’s tough getting journalists excited enough to write about you; unfortunately that wonderfully crafted product announcement or client case study you just sent out to your contacts in the media won’t immediately hit the front page, no matter how market changing you believe it to be.

Why? Firstly, it’s because understanding what a journalist wants is difficult. Secondly, there’s a chance that you aren’t communicating with the media using the right language.

Speaking to them as if they are a prospect is the quickest way to get ignored. Take a moment to imagine just how many marketing or sales people send out stories to journalists in the hope of getting covered; after all, you frequently read stories about your competitors and their life changing products, right? But look again; in the cold light of day, the press release, case study, or opinion article has probably been submitted by a PR.

Understanding editorial sensibilities

The reality is that any decent journalist is not going to publish anything promotional. Ever. That’s the place for advertising and never the twain shall meet – oh, and don’t go suggesting to an editor that you will place an advert if they place your promotional copy; that’s the quickest way to offend editorial sensibilities.

It takes an in-depth understanding of the world in which the journalists operate to get the relationship right. They take delight in turning the dull and mundane into entertaining prose that will engage their readership so that they keep coming back for more. Give them a hint of sales and marketing and they’ll run for the hills, but give them an engaging piece of insight that tackles a thorny issue that their readership is struggling with and you’ll have them eating out of your hand.

Language matters

You PR agency can strike that (almost) impossible balance between what you would love to see written about you and what the journalist could be convinced to write about you. It’s still “promotional”. It still features you or one of your clients. And it still talks to your market about the market, positioning you as an expert. The difference is the language used, as the copy will be written in a specific way to engage an audience on neutral ground, outlining the issue and a potential solution examining as many of the scenarios as possible to give a balanced view.

Of course there is still a place for breaking news – that announcement that will have the market in shock and awe. However, the fact that one of your clients has just placed an order is not necessarily news. The truth is that any journalist may consider a news story if it has a great brand associated with it, but they are going to be far more interested if there is an angle that dares to challenge the status quo.

In reality, even PR 101 needs a sprinkling of magic, but the good news is that the magic can be found amongst the skilled and experienced PR professionals out there. It’s not that you aren’t trying, it’s just that you might need a little help to speak the right language.

Copyright © 2015 Ashley Carr, founder of Neo PR.

Four ways to measure your online marketing

June 08, 2015 by Marketing Donut contributor

Four ways to measure your online marketing{{}}When it comes to small businesses, every penny counts. The good news is that it's now easier for businesses to measure the impact of their marketing campaigns and return on investment (ROI) has become a crucial metric.

Online marketing is relatively low cost but it can be time consuming so it's crucial to find out which channels work best for your business. Being able to correctly attribute your marketing's impact on sales revenue is the best way to achieve this.

What is marketing attribution?

Marketing attribution will show you which of your marketing campaigns are leading to the highest number of sales and will illustrate how customers interact with your brand before making a purchase.

This type of data will help you attract more customers and increase sales and leads. Here are four ways to gather this data:

1. Understand attribution models

Attribution models are, according to Google, the rules or rule which "determine how credit for sales and conversion is assigned to touch points in a conversion". In other words, it's about which customer behaviours you are going to measure.

Touch points in a conversion path usually involve interactions with your website – these could be downloads, page views or a newsletter sign up. They could also include links from social media or email newsletters, clicks from referring websites or clicking on a paid ad. Now you need to know which of these customers went on to complete an online transaction or pick up the phone.

2. Identify the right attribution model for your business

You need to work out what's right for your business. Start by identifying the metrics that are most valuable to your business and this should give you an idea about the right model to use.

If you're new to tracking revenue contribution, look at the different attribution models available. These could include:

  • Last interaction: This model looks at the last interaction before a sale. It's useful if your sales funnel doesn't have a long consideration phase, but it doesn't recognise every touch point in the sales cycle, including the marketing that generated the lead in the first place.
  • Last non-direct click: This model is best if your sales are mostly won through other methods and people simply go to your website for the actual sale.
  • Last AdWords click: This model is best to analyse which of your AdWords campaigns are the most effective.
  • First interaction: This metric tracks the way the person first came across your site; it's useful if you are looking to raise awareness for your business.
  • Linear attribution model: In this model, every interaction in the conversion path gets equal credit for the sale.
  • Time decay: This model places most emphasis on the interactions that occurred closest in time to the conversion or sale.
  • Position-based: This model assigns 40% credit each to the two key touch points — the first and last customer interactions, with 20% attributed to what happens in between.

3. Collect conversion data from every source

Collecting data from every conversion source is extremely important. Being able to track the right metrics and really understand the success of your marketing will enable you to shift gears as needed and give you more confidence in trying new things.

Conversion sources don't just come in the form of email enquiries or web forms; leads also come from telephone calls. Call tracking software, provided by the likes of Mediahawk, will give you a good overview of where your leads are coming from and how they're converting.

4.Use the data to make smarter marketing decisions

Analysing the data will lead to a better understanding of your customers and how they interact with your business, helping you adapt to their needs and ultimately obtain new business. You will also achieve a better understanding of what parts of your business are the most useful in building a solid customer base and making the most profit.

What's more, you can interpret the data to look at all your current marketing activities and then work out where to cut marketing spend or invest. You might find that your investment in Pay Per Click (PPC) is generating enquiries but not actually leading to sales. A smart thing to do might be to revaluate your paid search landing pages, in terms of the content or the call to action. Or you might even find that it would be wise to cut budget in this area if it isn't generating the return you need.

Copyright © 2015 Zoe-Lee Skelton, SEO content marketing consultant at Receptional.

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Why today's shoppers are more cautious than ever

June 01, 2015 by Marketing Donut contributor

Why today’s shoppers are more cautious than ever{{}}The recession has had a long-term impact on consumer attitudes and behaviours. One lasting change is that more than half of consumers express a preference for businesses that are local or are seen to be an integral part of their community.

That’s potentially good news for SMEs but what other post-recession attitudes and behaviours will impact on small firms?

The cautious consumer

One thing’s clear, consumers are now more cautious than ever and they find it hard to share the optimism of many economists. Recent research by ID Insight Consulting has found that fewer than one in three people agree that the economy is out of recession and growing. More than two-thirds believe the economic outlook is uncertain and only 10% feel that the UK economy is likely to show sustainable growth.

These findings seem hard to reconcile with most measures of economic activity. But the research shows that most people find it impossible to separate the wider economic situation from their own financial situation; the economic environment might be overwhelmingly positive but if they don’t feel it, then they don’t really believe it.

In addition, it appears that the impact of the recession has been so profound, that it has had a lasting impact on consumer psychology, even amongst the many whose personal situation is now fairly positive and those who never really felt its full force.

The rise of the thrifty affluents

Consumers might be more interested in dealing with smaller, local businesses but it’s important to recognise that the focus on value for money is just as important. Value brands across the board have lost most traces of stigma and coupon culture appears to be pervasive across all age groups and income brands.

However, the potential threat to the small business that finds it hard to compete with larger players on price is somewhat offset by ongoing strength at the quality end of many consumer markets.

What we can be certain of is the emergence of several new consumer types; the Thrifty Affluent, Bounce Back and Still Struggling segments will have an on-going impact on UK businesses of all sizes.

Smaller businesses, less encumbered with rigid segmentation models and more able to react swiftly to changes in consumer spending habits, could well hope to turn this new order to their advantage.

Copyright © 2015 Duncan Bridge, director of ID Insight Consulting.

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Is Barclays right about online discounts and their impact on sales?

May 27, 2015 by Marketing Donut contributor

Is Barclays right about online discounts and their impact on sales?{{}}You may have seen the latest Barclays TV ad in which a woman gives shoppers a money-saving tip. She suggests that online shoppers place items in their basket but not checkout and instead wait for a coupon to arrive via email.

It is, in effect, advising cart abandonment as a way of shopping. Marketers often debate whether recovery incentives actually work. So we were very interested when an organisation that had been taking such an approach (using a 15% discount incentive) came to us with results of a 26.2% sales uplift!

But, as we discovered, this didn’t tell the whole story.

With permission, we let the existing program run for several weeks to get a baseline before removing the coupon and continuing for a further period. The sales uplift immediately plummeted from 26.2% to 6.4%. Had we made a horrific mistake?

Here's what happened:








Cost of









No incentive

















What stands out is that the recovery numbers had been boosted by the 15% incentive, so they fell when we removed it. But the value purchased hardly changed – in fact, it increased slightly when the incentive was removed. Customers were still buying at the same rate.

Clearly, when we stopped the incentive, a lot of people were buying through the normal checkout process, instead of getting diverted into abandonment recovery. The organisation had been allocating about $3,000 per month to the incentive, without increasing the value of sales at all.

What was happening?

Absolute price was never much of an issue, but nobody likes to pay over the odds. So, when presented with a 15% coupon in the cart abandonment email it changed purchasing behaviour as shoppers who would have bought immediately were diverted into becoming delayed buyers.

Instead of putting products in the cart and buying, shoppers would leave, wait until for the cart abandonment email, then return to the site and copy the coupon from the email.  But this is a much more complicated process and it’s well known that simplifying the checkout process improves sales.

Some of the would-be savers tried to save 15%, found it was all too much trouble and dropped out. Maybe the recovery email went to the spam folder, or maybe the coupons expired before they got around to using them. The precise reason doesn't really matter – what’s clear is that some potential shoppers were tempted by the offer but ultimately it actually stopped them going through with the purchase because of the added complexity.

The lesson is that you have to be very careful with incentives. Whenever you introduce a powerful reason to buy in a particular way, some customers will switch to it. But if your new way is complicated, some of those will drop out, and you could actually lose sales.

Copyright © 2015 Mike Austin, CEO of Fresh Relevance.

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