Mequoda Goes to Germany

Guten Morgen! (Good Morning)

I’m writing from my hotel suite in Bonn, Germany where I’m preparing to present 3 Mequoda Bootcamps to German publisher Verlag Norman Rentrop with Don this week.

This is the second time Don and I have presented our content in Europe this year–in late June we had the pleasure of speaking at the SIPA UK conference in London. That was where Helmut Graf, CEO of VNR, invited us to visit his beautiful country to present the Mequoda System to his company.

VNR generates roughly €90 million in revenue per year and has an estimated 240 employees. It has 10 publishing groups, which cover topics including computers, investing, business, health and a newly launched model railroading title.

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And while we’d consider VNR a newsletter publisher, they actually publish a lot of their content as loose-leaf services. So they see value in their product not only when it arrives, but also as a reference tool. In the US, we tend to associate loose-leafs with B2B publishers, while at VNR, they publish many of their consumer titles as loose-leafs. As Uli Raible, a VNR group publisher points out “If they’re collectors by hobby, naturally, they’d like to treat their newsletter subscriptions as collectibles too.”

The one commonality VNR certainly does share with US publishers is their quest to understand how the Internet fits into their overall publishing enterprise.

I admit I’m curious to see how the Mequoda System will translate to the German culture. And last night at dinner, after… ahem, a few glasses of delicious German wine, I expressed this curiosity out-loud to Don and Uli and learned that so far, many of Mequoda’s theories are holding up in Germany.

In particular, our order button color testing and order flow data collection testing.

For those of you who missed this data, our testing reveals that deep orange buttons with navy blue lettering outperform any other button color combination by as much as 27 percent. And Uli says the change has made a significant difference on his sites.

Our testing also reveals that a two-step data collection process (shipping followed by payment on next page) outperforms a one-step data collection process (shipping and payment on one page) by as much as 12 percent.

The moral of the story? Humans are humans–and VNR spends a great deal of time and energy studying best practices in the US and the UK. And just as we’re here to present our mostly-US findings to the already successful German publishers, I’m sure we’ll walk away each day with useful information I’ll be able to share with you and put into practice myself to improve our publishing business.

Viele Grße,

PS: To get your share of our Bootcamp presentations, attend this year’s Mequoda Summit. And hurry! Early bird expires tomorrow!


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