Friday, December 14, 2007

12/14/07 - Saving Your Company Money


This issue: saving your company money…

1. Health Freedom Blog update
2. Key food product trends
3. How do your email “click-throughs” rate?

1. Vitamin Lawyer Health Freedom Blog & Factoids
New Posting -
NJ Tops Maryland in Compulsory Vaccination Stupidity

eAlerts – STOP COMPULSORY DRUGGING & VACCINATION! please go to: and sign up for the eAlert list today! Better, please tell everyone on your elist to do the same! This list of several hundred thousand purveyors and consumers of natural products and remedies is having a powerful impact…

Practice Note #1: FDA has brought together its various guidances on Food Defense and Terrorism. You can find this information at:

“FDA has simplified these documents by repackaging the information found in each guidance document into the new Food Defense Self Assessment Tool.”

Practice Note #2: It took a couple weeks of persistent emails to Google Adsense, but we just got Adsense to reject a paid ad by a competitor of a client where the competitor had purchased the client’s name to pass-off their inferior product as the real deal… I suspect deciding factors were that the client had her own name as one of her URLs and that it was a well-known name, not just a business phrase, thereby rising to the status of what the law calls a “famous mark.”

2. Key food product trends

From an email: The 10 Key Trends for 2008 are:

“Key Trend 1: Digestive Health – a wellness issue and the biggest opportunity
Key Trend 2: Fruit and superfruit – the future of food and health
Key Trend 3: The marketing power of “naturally healthy”
Key Trend 4: Beauty foods – the newest niche
Key Trend 5: Weight management more about maintaining than losing
Key Trend 6: Mood food feels its way
Key Trend 7: A tipping point for the premiumisation of health
Key Trend 8: Healthy snacking for the “me” generation
Key Trend 9: Kid’s nutrition – connecting to multiple trends is crucial
Key Trend 10: Antioxidants - the new probiotics…

Premiumization” has become a standard for healthy foods …which brands are able to command price premiums of 100%-800% over regular foods – and how they do it
Green tea, antioxidants, probiotics and fibres are the ingredients with the brightest futures
Omega-3 and plant sterols will continue to be niche ingredients
How packaging innovation is the biggest product differentiator…”

3. How do your email blast “click throughs” rate?

What is the average click-through rate for email newsletters? I reproduce an excellent answer from

Answer: The click-through rate is important because without it, you don't get conversions. However, there's no single benchmark click-through rate, because CTRs depend on many factors: whether you send to a business or consumer audience, the kind of mailing you send, how relevant it is to your audience, how often you send, your opt-in process, your use of personalization and segmentation and dozens of other factors. And most significantly, how many links you have in your email and if you are providing content such as articles, whether you include the entire article within the body of the email or you have a teaser or snippet that requires subscribers to click through to a Web site to read.

Beyond that, many companies calculate and report CTRs differently - using total rather unique clicks. Many subscribers will click on multiple links, which means that CTRs based on "total" clicks are typically about two times higher than those based on "unique" clicks..

That being said, below are some ranges for average CTRs for permission-based house lists. CTRs that we cite are based on unique clicks (only one click per person is counted) and are calculated as: unique clicks/emails delivered:

* B2B newsletters typically range from 5% to 15%. If yours are consistently below that level then among other things, you are probably providing content of little value to your subscribers. Or you may have most of the content within your email, not giving subscribers a reason or means to click-through to your site.
* B2C promotional emails often range from about 2% to 12%. Emails with less than a 2% CTR may be a result of over mailing and questionable opt-in processes.
* Highly segmented and personalized lists (B2B and B2C) are often in the 10% to 20% CTR range. Also, email messages with very strong content but sent to unsegmented lists, like many news or trend-type newsletters, are often in the 10%-15% range.
* Trigger or behavior-based emails (emails that are sent to a recipient based on some behavior they showed, such as clicking on a product link, visiting a specific Web page, etc.) are often in the 15% to 50% range.

If your emails are typically showing under say 2-3% CTRs, some of the causes likely include:

* Poor permission or opt-in processes. This includes pre-checked boxes, not making it clear what type of email they will be receiving, automatically adding someone to receive your email when they've actually signed up for something else such as a whitepaper, etc.
* Poorly written subject lines that do not direct and motivate recipients to take an action.
* Poor delivery rates. If a lot of your emails are getting blocked or filtered and you don't know it, your CTR will obviously be affected.
* Poor open rates. If few people open your email, fewer recipients have a chance to click.
* Poor design and layout. If they can't easily find where to click through or aren't motivated to by your layout - you've got trouble in River City.
* Lack of links. Quite simply, the more links the better. Make it so that readers are continuously stumbling over text and graphic links like they do signage in a retail store.
* No reason to click. If your newsletter has a single or multiple articles in their entirety, then don't expect them to click. You haven't given them any reason. If you are sending a promotional email and you don't include a deadline for the offer, or convey a discount, special offer, limited supply, etc., few people are probably going to take action.

Friday, December 7, 2007

12/07/07 - Insurance for Your Products


This issue: saving your company money…

1. Health Freedom Blog update
2. Insurance for your products
3. Bayer told to tone down vitamin claims
5. Coming next year: improved format for the VL Update eMemo!

1. Vitamin Lawyer Health Freedom Blog & Factoids
New Posting -

eAlerts – STOP FORCED VACCINATION! If you are on the Natural Solutions Foundation eAlert list you received an alert about the emergency health freedom advocates’ meeting in Tiburon CA I attended. If you want to stay current on health freedom issues, you really need to sign up to the eAlert list - please go to: and sign up today! Better, please tell everyone on your elist to do the same! This list of several hundred thousand purveyors and consumers of natural products and remedies is having a powerful impact in Washington and internationally.

And they’re getting the idea behind The Codex 2 Step:

"Although Codex is not a regulatory body, its decisions are used as a benchmark of discussion should trade disputes arise in the future, and while Codex does not have the same force of law as an EU directive or national legislation, it is used as a reference point for countries that are looking at revising or creating legislation."

For an 8 minute video of me explaining the Codex 2 Step, see:

2. Insurance for your products

Obtaining product insurance has become increasingly difficult as FDA/FTC regulatory oversight has ratcheted up. I’ve worked with one particular agent here in NJ for nearly a decade and many of the Vitamin Lawyer clients have found his services reassuring. Here is the type of information that is needed for the application.

1) Description of all named insured person or entities
2) Financials – latest annual income statement and balance sheet.
3) 5 years of sales/receipts history
4) Product labels & brochures, reflecting ingredients in the products
5) 5 year currently valued company loss runs or “No Known Loss Letter.
6) Expiring program including carrier, limits, deductible, premiums, and term.
7) Does the insured have or plan on having any products containing Organ/Glandular Extracts, Ephedra, Colloidal Silver, Green Tea, Synephrine/Bitter Orange, Kava, Lobelia, Magnolia or Yohimbe products? If so what are the product names, what percentage of their sales is applicable to these products and how many milligrams go in the products? We will need these product names and labels

I have the 8 page application form available; please email me with “Insurance App” in the subject line.

The agent tells me that he spoke with the underwriters. “They are not willing to speculate on the impact [of the new Adverse Event Reporting law that goes into effect on December 22, 2007]. They aren't doing anything [with rates] at the moment, but will be following it over time to determine its impact. … "

3. Bayer told to tone down vitamin claims

December 5, 2007 - The National Advertising Division (NAD) of the Council of Better Business Bureaus is recommending Bayer Healthcare modify or discontinue certain claims surrounding its Vital and Sharp Mind supplement. NAD, the Federal Trade Commission and industry trade associations have been targeting the marketing claims of supplement makers. Because this move involves a large player in the health industry getting its knuckles rapped by a monitoring body, it could send out warning signals to smaller companies about being more careful in marketing their products… NAD found no fault with following its review are that Vital & Sharp Mind "supports memory, mental sharpness, and healthy brain function", as well as that it promotes "memory, concentration, and mental sharpness," and can "keep your mind vital and active." [But] … there was insufficient evidence to support the claim made in a television commercial that Vital & Sharp Mind could assist healthy adults in recalling a list of items that was recited moments earlier… this claim suggests the product can actually assist healthy adults in recalling a list of names that was recited moments earlier. The agency says this level of effectiveness goes beyond the general claim made by Bayer that the product "supports" memory and as such requires further scientific evidence…”

4. Holiday Sale! Vitamin Lawyer Time for Sale…

It’s that time of year when your successful natural product business needs to expense out profits… So, why don’t you prepay The Vitamin Lawyer for consulting time good anytime in 2008? Here’s my special holiday deal: buy two hours at regular rate, $295/hr and get a third hour FREE… that’s a 33% savings! You can reserve as many hours as you’d like. We all know the dollar is tanking… that means all professional fees will be going up this coming year. Lock in 2007 discounted rates now! You can go to my PayPal page, or email me with VL DISCOUNT in the subject line. And have happy holidays; prosperous new year!


5 Upgrading the VL Update eMemo!

Coming next year: this email update system will be replaced by a second, private blog, the Vitamin Lawyer Update Blog, to allow me to keep you up-to-date better than ever! You’ll receive a shorter weekly update email with links to blog articles that will be posted as the information becomes available… more timely information better indexed!