How to look after yourself during challenging times

While some of us may stay physically well through self-isolation and social distancing during this unprecedented period, a potential side effect of these practices is a negative impact on our own mental health.

New research from the Mental Health Foundation has revealed that more than 60% of adults had felt anxious or worried as a result of the Coronavirus pandemic – and that was before the UK went into lockdown. Although not everyone will be affected in the same way, this situation is new to most of us and people may find themselves struggling in ways they haven’t before.

With that in mind, we wanted to share some advice that we’ve gathered from various sources around how to look after ourselves during the coming weeks. We hope that this might be useful for you, or to share with others.

  1. Keep in a routine

Structure in your day can help you practice good boundaries for working at home to ensure you have time for rest and relaxation. Professor of Public Health Linda Bauld explained on BBC Debate Night earlier this month that this can include things such as waking up to an alarm like a normal working day, getting ready, checking in with friends or family, or taking a morning walk.

  1. Speak to people each day

Make the most of video calls, FaceTime, chat apps or a traditional phone call to socially engage with friends and family virtually. The same goes for checking in with and working with colleagues when we’re based at home. While we may not be able to meet them physically, the social interaction can boost our mood and keep us connected to the outside world.

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  1. Get some exercise and fresh air

Staying active is a great way to refresh the mind, distract ourselves momentarily from a difficult situation and release endorphins to keep us feeling positive. It’s also a “classic anxiety reduction strategy” according to Dr Ken Duckworth, medical director of National Alliance on Mental Illness.

  1. Monitor your media intake

It’s very easy with a lot going on and so many news sources to stay constantly connected to the news, however many are finding that negativity in the news is causing anxiety or distress. The World Health Organisation recommends that we seek updates and guidance at specific times of the day and avoid listening to or following rumours that might make us feel uncomfortable.

  1. Eat a balanced diet to boost your immune system

When we’re all at home we may be led to feel bored and reach for foods or substances that can bring comfort, however in excess these may make you feel worse. By monitoring our intake and being aware of its impact, we can then alter it if we feel necessary. Try to have a balanced lifestyle even when we are limited to what we can do.

  1. Take regular breaks

We’re generally used to getting up and making a drink, attending meetings or heading out for a break during the day. At home there’s less things to break up our working pattern and screen time, so make an effort to have regular breaks to give your mind (and your eyes!) a rest.

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  1. Practice positive thinking

There’s a lot around us that can bring us down at the moment. It may sound simple but focusing on positivity –  whether that’s reflecting on things you’re grateful for each day or intentionally thinking about something that’s made you happy recently – helps us to channel our thoughts so that we remember things to stay happy about.

If you feel you need additional support, we recommend you seek further advice or help. If you’re concerned about symptoms that you or people you know are experiencing, visit the NHS website for more details on Coronavirus, or to access resources to support your mental health and wellbeing.

Other charities such as Mind and Time To Change also have a wealth of resources for those experiencing mental health problems or looking to support a struggling friend or family member.

Stay safe – look after yourselves and your community!

The brookscomm team

5 ways for Amazon sellers to cash in on Black Friday

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The 29th November sees the return of Black Friday. The sales from last year’s shopping bonanza topped £1.49bn online, making it the second biggest online selling event of all time – second only to July’s Amazon Prime Day which saw Amazon sell over 175 million items across 18 countries.

Black Friday 2019 is anticipated to be bigger than ever, and the sales are no longer refined to the weekend. UK deals are opening earlier, with sales starting on Amazon at 00:01 on Friday 22nd November this year – a week before Black Friday. What’s more, Amazon is hosting a ‘Black Friday Countdown Sale’ between 18th November and 22nd November.

Black Friday offers tremendous potential to companies currently selling on Amazon. But as a seller, how can you make sure you’re getting the most out of the Black Friday extravaganza?

Here are our five top tips for seller success.

1. Optimise your listing title for searches

Making sure your product is as visible as possible in searches needs to be your priority (visibility within Black Friday deals comes later). Make sure you include a generic product description of what your product is within the title. Even if people haven’t heard of your brand, this will ensure that they know what type of product you are offering.

2. Seal the deal with bullet points

The five bullet points are arguably the most important feature of an Amazon listing. Listing features is not enough to persuade buyers; you need to motivate the viewer to buy by setting an expectation of what benefits they will get out of using the product. This is why Amazon places the customer buy-box next to the bullet points – more often than not, it’s the bullet points describing the benefits of the features that convince buyers.

3. Participate in Black Friday Lightning Deals

The main concept around Amazon’s Black Friday is to offer hundreds of exclusive discount deals on popular, quality products. To be able to be a part of this, your product(s) need to have a certain number of positive reviews and a three-star rating or higher. You must also reduce the price of the item by at least 40% to be considered.

You need to choose the quantity of stock you want to sell and submit the deal in advance of Black Friday to Amazon. Amazon then decides when to schedule it. Lightning Deals are tremendously popular due to their high visibility on the homepage, and huge volumes of stock can be sold in a very short time period.

4. Increase your keyword bid strategy throughout Black Friday promotion

If you already use Amazon’s display and brand keyword advertising tools in seller central, make sure you allocate extra budget for the duration of Black Friday to ensure your products are promoted above organic search results.

You’ll reap the benefits of a low advertising cost of sale (ACOS) as your customers’ intention now will be to buy rather than browse.

5. Use vendor powered money-off coupons

Amazon customers use the ‘wish list’ function to keep track of products they’ll be looking to buy at discount during Black Friday. Sellers can make their products more attractive during the sale by buy adding a money off coupon onto the listing. A glance at the wish list will display the discount on offer to the customer.

Couponed listings also stand out in search results. As a seller, you are in control of offering a percentage discount or a monetary amount off the list price, making this a very useful sales strategy instead of Lightning Deals.

As Black Friday’s popularity continues to grow every year, missing out on the opportunity for increased sales around the shopping event could see your brand suffer. Following these tips puts you in good stead to maximise the opportunity Black Friday offers to sellers.

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Want to find out more? Get in touch!

If you have any questions about how to make Amazon an effective channel for your business, please check out our Amazon Marketing services or get in touch. We’ve helped several brands launch and establish themselves on Amazon in Europe. Call us on 01483 537 890 or email hello@brookscomm.com

How to get the most out of Amazon’s mega sales events

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In 2015, Amazon told Black Friday to step aside and make way for their own brand new sales event. By offering exclusive discounts to Prime members only and holding the event during a traditionally quiet time of year for shoppers, Amazon were about to disrupt the retail industry once more.

Amazon Prime Day has been a staggering success so far. Each year the event has grown by over 60% in terms of sales and Amazon prime membership uptake.  Last month’s Prime Day was the biggest ever online shopping event. It took place in 17 different countries, where over 100 million products were bought by Amazon’s 100 million Prime customers.

The cost of success

Prime Day 2018 was a bittersweet affair for many sellers on Amazon.  Reports of a years’ worth of sales in a few hours were not uncommon, with some discounted product lines selling out in just a matter of minutes.

This left some to question what if they had more stock available and for those who don’t sell on Amazon what they are missing out on.

If you can’t beat them…

If you aren’t selling on Amazon it might be worth reconsidering your strategy to include it as a sales channel. The margins might be less than selling directly via your website or via another reseller, but the sheer volume of sales made possible by Amazon Prime Day, Black Friday and Cyber Monday make it hard to exclude.

We have worked with several clients over the last two years, helping them to achieve record sales on Amazon, especially during Amazon Prime Day, Black Friday and Cyber Monday, here are our tips to any business looking to sell on Amazon:

Test the water with Amazon FBA

If you are already trading on Amazon, compare selling as a trader with selling directly from Amazon. “Fulfilled by Amazon” (FBA) means Amazon hold the stock and handle the delivery themselves. FBA listings are favoured over non-FBA in search results and generate more sales as Prime customers can get the products via next-day delivery. FBA also provides you with easy access to other countries with Amazon shopping portals, such as France and Germany, helping support your business growth aspirations.

Use Lightning Deals and Deal of the Day to measure demand

If your product earns good reviews then you can qualify for time-limited exclusive Amazon promotions. Lightning Deals are flash sales of limited quantities of products, Deal of the Day, as its name suggests, is an all-day unlimited quantity sale. Both promotions are very useful to gauge how popular your products are, which is essential when trying to predict sales during Amazon’s three major annual sales events. They’re also very effective in selling off surplus stock at discount (typically 25% off RRP).

Use Enhanced Brand Content to maximise appeal

Registering your brand with Amazon and meeting certain seller criteria unlocks a range of marketing features for your brand and your product listings. Visual aids, video and other media can all be used to make your listing stand out from the competition, appearing slicker and more attractive to buyers.

Use Amazon Sponsored search to refine your listing

The main difference between Google and Amazon is that people on Amazon are searching in relation to making a purchasing decision. In the same way a Google ad works, you can sponsor certain keywords, phrases or even other products, so that your listing appears before your competitors.

In addition to boosting sales, sponsored search provides rich insight into buyer search behaviour, which you can use to further optimise your listing, helping boost the organic performance of your listing.

Sponsored search also includes the option to run Dynamic ads, where Amazon uses its own algorithms and keyword ideas to target shoppers it thinks would be likely customers.

Plan your integrated PR, Social and Digital Marketing around Amazon major sales events

Assuming your participation in these events, where you need to agree with Amazon’s discount (circa 30% off the RRP) and FBA stock availability, its vital to augment Amazon’s marketing with your own comms plan.

In the build up to Prime Day, Black Friday or Cyber Monday get in-touch with the online and traditional retail press and let them know about what products and discounts are available. You can embargo the news so that it’s only released just before the start of the sale. If you have a customer mailing list, let them know they could buy more of your products via this special sale. Perhaps they make an ideal gift?

Promote the sale on your social media platforms using yours and Amazon’s branding to show your association. If you advertise on the likes of Facebook, Twitter or Google, target likely buyers with messages during the promotion.

If you work with an integrated PR, social and digital marketing agency, ask them about taking responsibility for this.

Remember that Black Friday and Cyber Monday soon follow

With three consecutive years of 60% growth its very likely Amazon Prime Day 2019 will be bigger than 2018. Sales forecasting will be challenging, but if you use your sales data from the other Amazon promotions and understand what an average week or month’s sales looks like you’ll be in a better position to predict. Bear in mind that there is five months of regular sales activity to meet after Prime Day and that you could run an additional Deal of the Day to help clear stock. Finally, with Black Friday, Cyber Monday and the Xmas build-up coming just five months later, there will be more opportunities to sell large quantities.

At brookscomm we have over 20 years of PR & marketing expertise and a proven track record of providing an integrated, measurable PR and digital marketing strategy. We can help you boost your business. Email michael@brookscomm.com or call us on 01483 537 890. 

Follow us: Twitter @PRexpertsUK   Linkedin: brookscomm  Facebook: brookscomm Website: www.brookscomm.com

Beast from the East and agile PR

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A structured communications strategy should be part of any business strategy and will help to achieve key business objectives.

Producing interesting content which resonates with target customers and other stakeholders should be part of this plan.  Published material gives huge credibility to a company and can establish key company spokespeople as experts in their field.

However, having a great plan is all very well, but to derive the best results, it is necessary to be flexible and take both a proactive and a reactive approach to what is produced and when. Responding to topical news events and having something useful and informative to say on the subject can be a great  way to get great results. You can keep ahead of the competition by producing quality content that journalists and bloggers will find useful and which enhances or elaborates on a breaking news story in the media.

Tackling the Beast from the East

Be pro-active with your reactive PR. Think ahead to what might happen and produce content ahead of the game. Take the Beast from The East for example!

We all know that the winter weather in the UK can be miserable. Back in February, snow was being forecast to hit the country in a big way. Along with one of our clients, a leading law firm, we produced a tips article on what people’s rights were if they were unable to reach work due to adverse weather. This served as an advice piece for employees and highlighted employer obligations to staff in the bad weather. This was issued to a targeted audience of business and consumer lifestyle publications and web sites just before the snow arrived. The timing of the article lead to huge interest and the results were amazing. Local press, national papers, specialist employment sites and even BBC radio all wanted to run the article.

Timely PR, boosted by social media, will increase the likelihood that you will reach and resonate with your target audience.

At brookscomm we have over 20 years of PR & marketing expertise and a proven track record of providing an integrated communications strategy. We can help you boost your business, email hello@brookscomm.com or call us on 01483 537 890. 

Twitter @PRexpertsUK  Linkedin: brookscomm  Facebook:brookscomm Website: www.brookscomm.com

GDPR: The Implications for PR & marketing professionals

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GDPR & the implications for PR & marketing professionals

Are you ready? Are you scared or fully prepared? The GDPR deadline may seem like a long way off, officially coming into effect from May 2018 for Europe. However, there is no time like the present to ensure you are fully versed with the legalities, implications and best practise to avoid brand damaging fines for breaching GDPR rules.

The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) will replace the current Data Protection Act 1998, setting an even higher standard of consent protocols and data regulation. It’s sole purpose is to ensure that data and personal information is protected and not misused or passed on to other organisations without consent. Although such data is currently  freely available and accessible (on contact sections of websites for instance), these new measures prioritise individual’s privacy, the methods in which information is gathered, used stored and destroyed, with the ‘right to be forgotten‘ principle.

New opportunities and challenges arise for SMEs

GDPR isn’t just about data protection. Ensuring that customer data is a priority will create more opportunities for PR and marketing professionals to strengthen the relationships with customers, by engaging them with value-driven, insightful content which informs, educates and amuses. Being honest and transparent in digital communications will be essential going forwards.

The strategy behind generating prospecting lists for sales and marketing efforts will need to change as a result of GDPR. It will be harder and more expensive to promote your business to new, prospective customers if you are a start-up or SME, especially if you have a limited advertising budget. It will put larger corporations, who can afford to increase their ad spend and use different advertising tactics at an advantage. Yet, expensive ad campaigns targeting the masses could potentially be wasteful if the adverts are not relevant to customers wants and needs. Also, consumers may inadvertently pay more because of GDPR, as company’s look to increase prices to cover the cost of greater ad spend.

The Drum reports that the fine for breaching GDPR alone would force 17% of UK companies out of business. Therefore, taking a proactive approach and ensuring your organisation is GDPR compliant will mitigate the risk of being fined.

Personalisation & data

A brand needs data-rich insight to fulfill a personalised ad experience to a consumer or to offer content and services that provide value and are useful. Without this data, a company’s lack of customer insight and tailoring of the wrong types of content could frustrate customers and weaken the connection. Keeping customers in the conversation always and providing valuable, personalised insights & updates will overcome this issue, encouraging  customers to become brand advocates.

While it is imperative to be planning towards next May’s GDPR deadline, it’s worth knowing that the regulations are yet to be finalised. The Direct Marketing Association (DMA) are currently seeking clarification on a few aspects and are requesting amendments.

There is a plethora of information available, we advise the best place to seek specific information and to avoid confusion is to visit the official Data Commissioners Office website.

 

 

At brookscomm we have over 20 years of PR & marketing expertise and a proven track record of providing an integrated, measurable PR and Digital marketing strategy. We can help you boost your business. Email michael@brookscomm.com or call us on 01483 537 890. 

Follow us: Twitter @PRexpertsUK  Linkedin: brookscomm  Facebook:brookscomm Website: www.brookscomm.com