Wednesday, 30 May 2012

The Big eCommerce Conference - Part 1

Yesterday I set off early to travel down to Woking to attend The Big eCommerce Conference, hosted by b:web.  I have chatted with Zoe Brown, the MD of b:web, on Twitter for a while and know how passionate she is about helping small businesses get the most from their websites. Some of you may remember that  Zoe was the designer behind the Riot Raffle website.  So I was thrilled to be able to finally meet Zoe and her team.  I was also able to finally meet Isa Maria, of The Noisette Academy.  Isa has become a dear friend via twitter and email and has been somebody I have wanted to meet in person for a long while.  Fresh from her trip to Rwanda, Isa is full of ideas and plans so be sure to join her on The Noisette Academy and follow her progress.  Joining Isa and I at our table were Gabrielle of The Green Gables and Katie of What Katie Did Next.  I have met both Gabrielle and Katie previously and was delighted to meet up with them both again.

Leather & Liberty Print Purse from What Katie Did Next

I know from all of the tweets you sent me, thanking me for the live tweets from the conference and the RT's, that many of you want to know more about what I learnt yesterday.  I want to share so much with you all but because I have come away with pages of advice and ideas I don't now want to write a huge essay of a post! So I am going to spread it out over the next few days and as so many of you are small businesses, online and as 'real' retailers, I hope it all helps.  I will aim to condense the content from the conference, offering you all the key points from the different seminars and workshops. So here goes!

Having perused the conference programme I was still undecided which workshops to attend, but the line up was impressive.  The speakers were all informative and most were inspiring.  The first seminar was with Matt McNeill, an email marketing expert and founder of   Having been planning to start weekly email newsletters as part of the bigger and even better Zoe & Drew I was keen to learn about planning and running sucessful email campaigns.  Matt's seminar was incredibly informative and I have plenty of notes to help me create my own email newsletters that people will open.  Interestingly Matt stated that email marketing has the highest return with £1 spend creating £40 revenue.  Key factors for good email marketing include -
  • Build expectation - tell people how often they will receive your email newsltters.
  • Sell it to them - give people a reason to sign up, perhaps you will share product previews, discount codes, exclusive offers.
  • Keep subject line short and concise, no more than 50 characters - make people want to open your email.
  • Never have photo heavy content - often emails are opened on mobil devices which often leave blanks where images should be. People will just click delete.
  • Best time to send email newsletters/campaigns are Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday during office hours.  Optimum time to send - Thursday around 11am!
I then had to choose which workshop to attend and chose 'Sucessful Online Local Retailing' which proved very interesting.  In  a world doiminated by internet shopping it was interesting to see how local retailers are adapting to the online and real worlds of retail.  I defiantely believe there is a shift in our retail habits as we crave real shopping experiences yet still need the options of online shopping.  James Puddicombe of Voodoo, explained one of the key factors is community.  Local reatilers can be part of online shopping communities but also be part of our real communities. They know what we want as local shoppers and can be part of our community.  Local retailers are often passionate about what they sell and this means their marketing is authentic as they know and love what they sell.  They should also use this when writing the copy for their websites, using their own voices, not generic product descriptions that you find on websites such as Amazon.  So even though there are so many website selling similar products, local retailers can suceed in the online market as well as their local market, by being passionate and owning their niche, their topic. 

Do you already send email newsletters? Have you found a tried and tested method that works? Do you agree that there is a shift in our shopping habits? I would love to know what you all think.  Now seems a good place to stop as the conference took a coffee break! So I will be back soon with more, including ways to stop you using social media to much and why you need to be blogging for your business.

Have a fab day,


Yemi said...

Thanks for sharing this useful and informative post.

ursula (room to bloom) said...

Zoe - thanks for sharing what you've learnt! I am planniing to send newsletters too when I have some time to set it up.I'm sure you'll do great with it!

Zoe Grant said...

Yemi and Ursula - it is my pleasure to share the info. Just pleased I can help more small businesses :)

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