Cut costs and minimise risk

A plain man of business
Can count from one to ten
He sticks to practical matters, like
“Who will pay, and when?”

If you are involved in marketing paid content, email marketing, website marketing, membership or subscription marketing, around half your effort will be in reducing costs and minimising risk.

This advice is for you.

In a recent post about paywalls and membership marketing, I explained the only way to forecast the response from a promotion is to run a test and see what dosh comes in.

The post was all about and the silly ‘surveys’ they and other bodies undertake. They ask around 1,000 people what kind of money they would pay for a service and then publish the survey results, forgetting that what people say and what they do are two different things.

Deciding website marketing variables

Money is the only result that counts to a website publisher and the only currency a business person uses as a measure. That is why most marketers have daily response figures on their screens. We need to know what’s working so we can put more money there. (That’s our business explained in one line.)

The fact is, tiny things can affect response to a proposition:

In the website publishing business, seemingly tiny things affect response. Just changing the length of your marketing message can lift response by 430%.

For a paid content website like The Times, that uplift in response is the difference between earning £2.19 million a month and £9.42 million a month.

Scientific website marketing

This quote from Claude Hopkins, from his book Scientific Advertising was published in 1923 and is relevant to all website marketers today:

“ ... advertising is traced down to the fraction of a penny. The cost per reply and cost per dollar of sale show up with utter exactness. One ad is compared with another, one method with another. Headlines, settings, sizes, arguments and pictures are compared. To reduce the cost of results even one per cent means much in some mail order advertising.”

There are ten variables in our ‘marketing variables’ list above. All are important. Decisions about seemingly tiny aspects of a promotion can have a disastrous or extraordinary effect on income. So how do you find out what works and what doesn’t? Who will tell you?

In our business, fortunes are made so discreetly that only the list brokers and neighbours are in the know. Those ‘tiny aspects’ of your test promotions need a great deal of thought. You can’t just copy someone else’s technique and cross your fingers.

The problem is, it would take forever to test those ten variables above. There are just too many. The answer is thankfully simple: out of those ten variables, I already know the answer to eight of them. How?

In marketing the most valuable commodity is experience.

Peter Hobday
Subscriptions Strategy Ltd

Subscriptions marketing: confidential information for sale

The Subscriptions Strategy newsletter publishes international case studies of ‘best practice’ marketing for the Internet, websites, newsletters, books and magazines etc.

As publishers ourselves, we live or die by results. If a promotion doesn’t work, we lose money. If it works we record the results and use it on our own, and our clients’ websites and publications.

Every issue of the Subscriptions Strategy newsletter carries examples of successful marketing.

How you benefit by removing risk
As far as we are concerned, our testing means the difficult and costly part is over. As far as you are concerned, you can benefit from this tried and tested knowledge because the risk of failure has been removed and profitability is assured.

You will also find Subscriptions Strategy a great resource for training staff in all aspects of subscriptions marketing.

Please click on the link below for instant access to your subscriptions marketing starter pack. You receive:

1. 20% off the full price of an annual 6-issue subscription to the digital edition of the Subscriptions Strategy newsletter (a saving of £40)

2. Subscription Marketing Workbook worth £33: 15 Subscriptions Marketing Innovations Every Publisher Should Know

3. Subscriptions marketing ‘rapid update’: three special Subscriptions Strategy reports worth a total of £99 to bring you up to date with best practice marketing procedures for online and traditional subscription marketing

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