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Top tips for Successful Email Marketing

5 top tips for running successful email campaigns!

Email campaigns are very similar to direct mailing campaigns via snail mail, with the same principals applying to both. The better the quality of the message, the creative design and the higher the quality of the mailing list the higher the conversion rates are likely to be.

You may have all these elements correct and you send out to your list, sit back and wait for the flood of business. There are numerous other factors involved in running a successful email campaign starting with targeting the right recipients, measuring critical data such as open rates, click through rates and conversions.

Here are 5 top tips for running your own in-house email campaigns:

  1. Your emails should be thought of as a conversation, when writing your copy imagine that you are delivering it in person. Try and remove the remote online element from your message.
  2. Promotional material that works in a brochure doesn’t necessarily work online! Email is quite a personal method of communication, so your message may be more hard hitting but at the same time could come across to the reader as being too pushy. Try to include information that will be useful to your prospects rather than sticking to the hard sell.
  3. Give the “from” and “subject” fields of your message as much thought as the content. Once your email arrives these are parts of your message that will stand out and asked to be opened. Use a pertinent email address not just a name and use the subject line as your headline.
  4. “Call to Action” Think about the objectives of your message and the reaction you want to provoke in the recipient i.e. do you want them to pick up the phone, visit a specific web page or request a brochure. Don’t confuse the reader by offering too many actions.
  5. Consistency is everything in a marketing campaign of any type. You give the marketing department the task of writing your email campaign, and then use the same easy to understand language on subsequent contact, ordering or information pages. No matter how successful your marketing is, if the ordering process is over complicated or at all confusing, there’s a good chance that potential orders will be lost at the final hurdle.

Social Media is Easy right..?

Social Media management is easy right..?

Anyone and everyone does it so yes it’s easy…

You sign up for an account at Facebook, Youtube, Twitter, Linked In or any of the many other emerging social media portals and start posting..!


Successful social media campaigns take dedication and awareness…

If your goals for Social Media are to improve your profile and create business opportunities, then the content you produce needs thought and focus if it’s to be productive for your business.

The first job is to clearly define your key objectives for social media by preparing killer branding and content to back up your posts. Have a clear vision of how you want the social media world to think of you. Do you want people to think of you as a provider of high quality, fast turnaround, customer friendly or maybe cutting edge in your field. It’s very important to narrow your branding messages as being all things to all people rarely works.

Why build Social Media connections?

Social media is all about building connections and building connections takes time. Whether in the virtual world or the real world connections are all about trust and providing useful, trustworthy content is the first step. The social media world is constantly changing so be sure to stay abreast of updates to social media functionality such as uploading images, videos and other content, keep an eye out for new portals in your field that can be tapped into and don’t waste time on ones that miss your target audience.

Always measure the results of your work on social media sites. After your social media campaign has been running for a while, determine whether you are making any progress and if so is it meeting your goals.

Be very aware of the numbers… Check the number of people responding to your posts and social media offers, make a note of the number of people who are subscribing to your content and connection lists. Most of all pay particular attention to responses you’re getting to posted content.

Only by doing this will you start to understand what you need to change to improve your online reputation with killer content that really hits the mark…

Working for your customers can be bad for business

Working for your customers can be bad for business

This is an odd one but stick with it…

Customers can be a real pain can’t they?

Our best advice is that you should never work for another customer again.

We never work for any.

It really isn’t a good thing to do and your business would do a lot better if you did the same!

So, that’s a joke – right? Well a little tonge in cheak let’s say…

Working for customers is extremely bad for your business. But before you go off and tell others that Cracking Media are Crack Pots – wait a moment… It is true that customers can be a real pain – we have all had customers like that.

It is also true that you should never work for any customer, BUT we do wholeheartedly recommend that you should work with your customers.

So not for but with!

The difference in the two statements above is a subtle but important one. You will have heard people say of a sales person that he/she could sell snow to the Eskimos. It’s as if we should be impressed at how brilliant the person is at sales. But did anyone ask the Eskimo if he needed any snow?

The fact is, he didn’t! But that’s the same thing that happens when you are so obsessed with the things you can do for a customer – because selling a solution is really the focus of your attention – that you fail to understand the problem your customer needs solving. Many companies have great products or services, but are really poor at listening to their customer.

Rather than taking the time to fully understand the problem their customer needs solving, they impose a solution on them. This often results in the customer spending lots of money and the company they employ solving very little. In fact, in some cases, the solution has solved nothing and ended up costing the customer even more.

They were sold snow but didn’t need any! Finding the right solution for your customer comes about when there is a marriage of expertise. Your customer is an expert at what they do and so will understand their business better than you do. You are of course an expert at what you do – your customer wouldn’t expect anything less – but the key to providing a successful solution for your customer is to work with them not for them.

  • That means listening to your customer – the expert on their business.
  • That means taking time to understand the problems they need solving.
  • That means working with your customer to work out how you can best help them.

It sounds simple, but many businesses fail their customers because they get carried away with finding and imposing a solution without ever really understanding the problem. That doesn’t mean you should be passive in your relationship with your customer. Listening and understanding the problems your customer needs solving is an active role but it is only part of your role.

As an expert in the products or services you provide you must also be an educator. It is your responsibility to give your customer advice and direction whilst remembering that although the customer isn’t always right, they are always the customer. So, if you want to be successful at solving problems for your customers then start working with them.

And if you are a customer looking for a business to solve your problem, make sure you find a business that will listen to you and work with you, not for you.

Graphic Design and Print

Graphic Design Counts

The correct design is an important part of successful communication and user experience (UX). Graphic design implemented through high quality print or website can help you to maximise the power of your marketing collateral, brochures and marketing literature. Our service includes optimisation of existing copy, also content creation and design of new exciting releases… 

Print and Graphic Design

We are honest and uncomplicated when it comes to graphic design. We have years of experience and won’t blind you with jargon, we don’t sell you more than you really need, so whether you are looking for a glossy brochure, office stationary, flyers or website redesign we always aim to give you great value and great quality.

You know how to run your business, and our graphic design can help you to do that by giving you the materials you need to present your business with an air of authority and professionalism.

Contact us today for a no obligation chat…


Has the “Inspiring a Generation” Games inspired your business?

Has the “Inspiring a Generation” Games inspired your business?

After 17 days during which we have watched 26 sports, over 300 competitions, and over 950 medals awarded the Olympic Games 2012 is over. We have seen some extraordinary drama and witnessed the ecstasy and agony of the world’s sports men and women striving to achieve their dream. It has been truly memorable.

Games Chairman, Lord Sebastian Coe said, “The spirit of these Olympic Games will inspire a generation”. The genuine hope is that it will, but what was it that inspired this generation of Olympians and what can we learn from the stories they have told about their journey to success? For today’s generation of people in business, is there anything the Olympic athletes can teach us so that we can be, as their motto says, faster, higher, stronger?

You need to have a dream

London 2012 saw US swimmer, Michael Phelps, become the most decorated Olympian of all time with 22 medals, 18 of which were gold.

The BBC’s swimming presenter, Sharron Davies, asked Phelps, “When you started out your career all those years ago, did you ever see this? Was this what you were dreaming of?”

Phelps’ replied, “I dreamt of being the greatest, and Bob (Bowman, his coach since 11 years old) and I have worked together to become that. We’ve been able to do everything we have ever wanted.

Double gold-winner at 10,000 and 5,000 meters, Mo Farah, said, “When you have a vision and you have a dream, you dig in more.”

It’s important to have a clear idea of what you do well (which should be what you enjoy doing well) and set your sights to be the best that you can. Having and maintaining a clear vision motivates you and those around you who share that vision. Motivation gives you energy and helps you to reach beyond the ordinary.

You need to plan your course

Whilst it’s very important to know where you are heading, how are you going to get there? What can you do to be better at what you do?

The GB cycling team had an incredibly successful Games, winning an amazing 12 medals, 8 of which were gold. David Brailsford, Performance Director for British Cycling told how they work on a system of what they call marginal gains.

“The whole principle came from the idea that if you broke down everything you could think of that goes into riding a bike, and then improved it by 1%, you will get a significant increase when you put them all together. We really figure out what it takes to win whatever it is we want to win. We then prioritise because you know you cannot win everything.”

Of course it takes talent to be successful, but by improving what you do – even if only marginally on a few things – you improve your chances of being successful.

You need a good team

Whilst it is the athletes that win the prize, no athlete can ever be successful by just their efforts alone. They need people around them to support, guide and encourage them.

Team GB’s, long jump gold medal winner, Greg Rutherford had considered retiring after failing at the Beijing Olympics in 2008 and repeated injury problems. After winning gold at London 2012 he said, “I think I am very fortunate to have a fantastic team and fantastic family around me.”

So many of Team GB’s winning athletes testified to the difference the crowd made to their performance. Ed Clancy, who won bronze in the Men’s Cycling Omnium event said, “I felt really rubbish until the crowd started cheering, but then it was like a light switch had been turned on.”

Where do you draw your support from? Who guides and challenges you? Who cheers you on when the going gets tough? In business, especially if you are on your own, it’s hard to stay on track and it’s easy to be discouraged, so you need support and you must avoid becoming isolated. Maybe you can join a local learning and support network or find someone you trust who’s been successful in business to guide and encourage you.

You need to believe, work hard and not give up!

The margin between the medals is often be a very small one. It’s been said that often the most disappointed athletes are those that win silver, just missing out on gold, and fourth, missing a medal by just one place.

At 36 years old, Kath Grainger entered the London 2012 Olympics as the most decorated British woman of rowing. But despite winning six world titles, for more than a decade the prize of Olympic gold had eluded her, instead winning a trilogy of silvers.

It would have been easier to retire and look back on a fantastic career, despite never winning gold. However, Kath Grainger, described by Anna Watkin, her partner in the women’s double sculls, as the ‘life and soul’ of the British women rowers , has a self-belief and determination that rowed her and Anna on to gold.

Anna Watkins said, “You don’t get a medal just for believing”. For champion athletes it is that ability to believe and to act on that belief that sets them apart, a determination to persevere and not give up that carries them over the line ahead of their opponents.

When we fail (as all champions do) or negative thoughts or opinions stand in our way, it is how we respond that can make the difference between winning and losing.

For six races in sailing’s Finn class, Team GB’s Ben Ainslie could not beat Dane Jonas Hogh-Christensen. He was trailing in the standings and in danger of missing gold, but Ben was not ready to accept defeat. Ainslie was angered when Hogh-Christensen and Dutchman Pieter-Jan Postma teamed up against him saying he had hit a mark, forcing him to do a penalty turn. “They’ve made a big mistake,” Ainslie said, “They’ve made me angry and you don’t want to make me angry.”

Ainslie could have been defeated by the negative, but instead he used the energy of his anger to turn it into a positive which then became the spur to him winning his fourth Olympic gold.

How do you deal with defeat and demotivating negative thoughts or opinions? Do they take the wind out of your sails causing you to give up or do you look at the clouds and find a shift in the wind that gets you moving forward again?

Have a goal and be extraordinary

The final word goes to Samantha Murray, winner of the silver medal in the last event of the Games, the Modern Pentathlon. Four years ago, Samantha was doing her A Levels and although competing at that time in the event, she was well short of international level.

“Honestly, if you have a goal – if there’s anything you want to achieve in life – don’t let anybody get in your way because you can do it. There are so many people and so many things that will feel like they are trying to set you back. But honestly, find the path that you want to take in life and follow it and stick to it because if I can do it, and I’m a normal girl, anyone can do anything they want to do.”

The “Inspiring a Generation” Games has been inspiring and we have been in awe of the great champions like Mo Farah, Jess Ennis, Usain Bolt and Michael Phelps. But most of all, perhaps London 2012 will be remembered as a story of many stories about ordinary people doing extraordinary things – not just the stories of the world’s best athletes but also of the people behind the scenes like their families and coaches, and by people like the Games Makers that helped to make the Games such a success.

Has the “Inspiring a Generation” Games inspired you?


Writing Articles for SEO

Writing-articles-for-SEOWriting Articles for SEO

With the rise in blogging and more recently the growing power of sharing your blog through social media, it’s easy to get focused on putting new articles on your website without considering the SEO value of the content.

As great as Social Media is for sharing your content with contacts and friends, if you want to extend your reach beyond that it’s vital you spend some time and effort making your blog content Search Engine Friendly.

Before you post your blog article, come up with a list of keywords that are relevant only to the subject you are writing about from within your text, then make sure these keywords are used in strong keyword phrases.

Another approach is to make a list of keyword phrases from within your industry, then build your article around these. Next, use best search engine optimization practices to give you a better chance of getting the most out of your keywords.

Try to use words or phrases that will stand out like a headline in your text, did you see one in the previous sentence..?

When doing this consider:

  • Correct placement in the Article 
  • Keyword density
  • Keyword emphasis

Another under used technique when writing blog articles is to do keyword research in advance. Doing this tells you what people in your sector are searching for, giving you the opportunity to target your content to their needs.

Keyword research before writing your blog articles is a great technique that will attract more readers to click through to your website.

Even after your blog post is published, it’s good to remember you can continue to optimise the blog page with the comments you make in reply to others. Continue to attract search engines back by using specific keyword phrases within your comments, remembering to not overuse them.

Good use of Keywords

So What is Demographic Bidding..?

demographic-bidding-adwords-300x167So What is Demographic Bidding..?

Google have announced that demographic bidding is now available for all AdWords advertisers.

Demographic Bidding is a feature that helps you target your ads to specific age groups (such as ages 18-24), by gender, or to combinations of both.

Demographic bidding can be used whether you are using contextual or placement targeting also with both CPC (cost-per-click) and CPM (cost-per-thousand impressions) bidding and reach can be refined based on users’ gender and age on certain sites in the Google content network, for users who provide that information about themselves.

Users of partner sites won’t be identified through Demographic Bidding as AdWords receives the data in anonymous and aggregate form from participating sites.

Why Demographic Bidding gives you more control

Demographic bidding lets you display your ad campaigns on thousands of websites, that’s nothing new, however demographic bidding gives you the option to have your ads only seen by men, women or both in a specific age group of your choice. If you add in the ability to choose to run ads only on specific websites, ones relevant to the types of customers you want to reach – and if you are a business that serves a local community, then just run those ads to people in your area, this becomes a really powerful marketing tool.

Overall, demographic bidding gives you more control over who sees your ads. Combine this with the measuring tools available in your Adwords account and ad performance testing for specific demographics will help you adjust your bid modifiers and restricts to reach the right audiences.

Demographic Bidding will help you to get a better ROI.

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Start with the Basics to Look Professional

Get the basics right to Look Professional

These are the things that all businesses should have, they are relatively inexpensive, quick to develop and give you a professional image that becomes a great base to work from.

Start with a well planned and easy to navigate web site. This web site should be well-optimised during the development phase which will save money on future SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) and help you start to climb the search rankings quickly.

Consider your logo, does it need to be refreshed, modernised or replaced with a new one? Are the images on your site bright and clear or were they snapped on a phone. A combination of all these elements that fits your requirements will help you stand out from the crowd.

Digital Media for Marketing

Digital Media for Marketing

Today there are more ways to to reach customers than ever before. Common terms you hear are ‘I’ll Google it’, ‘Did you see that video on Youtube’ and ‘I found it on the web’ and as more people turn to the internet to find products and services it has offered businesses a chance to reach more people than ever before.

Marketing on the web has also levelled the playing field somewhat for smaller businesses. Once it was the big companies that could afford to print glossy brochures and use large distribution networks across the country to get them into homes and businesses.

With web based marketing you can have the glossy brochure on your web site and use search engine optimisation, social media and youtube videos to distribute your catalogue online. Having a digital presence with style and functionality can go a long way to increase the effectiveness of your marketing and add real value to your business.

What Digital Media would work best for you?

Think about what type of promotion you think would work the best for your business. Is your product a visual one or does it have many features for the price? Smartphone, tablet and computer manufacturers are building devices with improved screen resolutions and colours, this gives you the oportunity to ‘wow’ people with what you have to offer. Whether it is the use of a video to show the features of a product, an easy to use and well-optimised website (your glossy brochure) with high quality photography to show the range of your products or a combination of all these, the right digital media will help you stand out from the crowd.

Some digital media ideas you can use in your marketing:

  • Promotional videos, hotel or customer experience videos, product demonstration videos. The opportunities for using video today to promote your business products or services are almost endless.
  • Website design and development, content management systems (CMS), ecommerce sites, search engine optimisation (SEO), social media management. All these tools will help you to generate leads and grow your online audience.
  • Product photography, hotel promotional photography, PR photography, website photographs. In today’s competitive business world it’s so important to present a great image.

Get ‘Cracking’ with your marketing today…