April 23, 2014

Elements of a successful Advertising Campaign

Elements of a successful
Advertising Campaign

A successful marketing
campaign needs certain elements to be successful. The following information will
help you to develop a successful marketing campaign.

1) Establish a
feeling of urgency for the buyer. Basically tell your customers, “You need to
sign up today because it will make you reach your goals.” Don’t tell your
customer the offer will still be as good tomorrow; they must buy today! Urgency!
Study how successful ads make the customer act now. Remember the X10 Spy Cam
advertising campaign? They always had their website set up with a deadline for a
special deal. Something like that is easy to program and will eventually urge
the customer to sign up today. Don’t over do it – use this tactic for a week -
then switch to something else. Rotate these marketing tools. Start looking more
closely at the marketing vehicles (email, letters, postcards,) you receive
yourself every day, and you’ll begin to see that effective marketing always
gives you a reason to act now.

2) Show a list of benefits if the customer
signs up with you. There must be a list of benefits to make him sign up. Will
you be smarter using your services? Will he get more visitors? Will your server
be better than the competitions hardware? Will your business help to make the
site more successful? Or make him richer, or healthier, or faster? Focus on the
client, not the advertiser. Most benefits need to be skillfully integrated into
the ad. It is a waste of time and money in an ad or on your website if you
don’t work in benefits and present them
properly.

3) Call to Action: Tell them what they must do to get it. Don’t
assume that your prospects and customers will figure out how to get what you are
offering. They won’t do your work for you. So, go ahead and tell them what to
do. If they have to call you to get it, then tell them to call (to call you
now!). If they have to write or drop a post card in the mail, or fax something
to you, then tell them clearly and in words easy to understand. The point is to
make it as easy as possible for your target customer to do what you want them to
do. People don’t like to do anything that is going to take work on their part.
Make it as easy for them to respond as possible, or they won’t = no good results
for you.

3a) Do it again: You have to (must) tell customer what to do (to
sign up with you). Tell your customer to order now (this moment). So many ads
assume that the customer will guess to fill out the contact us form, email you,
or telephone for the information, or product. Tell the customer what to do.
Provide the customer on how to respond today in several ways. As more options
you can offer, the better will be the results.

4) Plan your advertising
calendar and campaign several months in advance. Failure to plan advertising in
advance will waste a lot of your money. Rush charges, poor design, rate
increases, poor creative and poor copy are common results of failing to plan in
advance. “I didn’t have enough time”, “I was under the gun to get this placed”,
are common phrases heard under rushed circumstances. Take a blank calendar and
fill in the days, months, or quarters to advertise to your target markets.
Figure out the number of ad insertions that will make sense and negotiate a
contract with the various media suppliers (e.g. local newspapers). Book banner
web space on the important website early in advance. Prepare your website with a
special landing page for the expected visitors.

5) Test your banners and
your ads. Only by trial and error will you be able to set a baseline as to the
best response rates for your ads and banners. It is very important to maximize
response for the amount of dollars spent. Sometimes re-phrasing text or
adjusting the ad layout can make the difference between a low or just average
response and a great success and high ROI (Return on Investment). You will need
to find out what works best for your business. After you find this out, you’ll
want to stay on course and base future advertising campaigns on the success of
the old one.

6) Avoid misleading or dishonest advertising in hopes of
converting duped readers/website visitors into using your products or services.
Honesty and integrity are the primary key to repeat sales and repeat business.
If you have to trick your audience to get their attention, you will have a very
hard time keeping their attention and their business if they sign up at
all.

7) Running On-(Web)Site Events. Running events on your website is an
excellent way to encourage repeat traffic and repeat visitors. You’ll want to
begin running events once traffic from your site launch begins to fade. Examples
include contests, games, on-line interviews, chat sessions and maybe even audio
broadcasts. Do the things your competitors don’t do.

Networking Scares Me!

Networking Scares Me!

When I started my business, if I knew then what I know now I either would not have started it or I would have become profitable much faster! Everyone who has their own business needs to learn an incredible amount.

Perhaps the most important business tenet is so simple – you make money when you sell stuff. To sell stuff, you market. To market effectively, it’s important to specify a segment of the market to whom to target your marketing message. Then you give them your message and they buy!

Let’s say you have already done much of the preparation. You’ve selected a target market; you did the features/benefits analysis for your product and company and researched where your target gathers. Then what? Once you figure out where they are and what you want to say, then what do you do?

In most small businesses, relationships are critical to your success. In building relationships with other small business owners, you have the opportunity to learn, find reliable vendors and business service providers, share best practices and get customers – directly and from referrals. You find these other business owners by networking. To many, this is a very scary concept. Do not be afraid!

Before showing up, make sure your elevator speech is customer focused. Honestly, nobody really cares about you; they are interested in what’s in it for them. Why should they consider doing business with you or referring business to you from their customers? Practice in front of a mirror with a stopwatch if necessary, and make sure to smile appropriately. Review your features/benefits analysis for a confidence boost.

Then go where your ideal customers gather. If you’re all sitting at a table, suggest you all pass your cards around to each other and do a ‘round robin’ where everyone takes a minute or two to give their ‘elevator speech’ (the 30 second or more speech you give where you pitch your company or service). You may volunteer to go first if you wish – sometimes that just gets everyone going.

Some networking groups allow each attendee to give their elevator speech to everyone in the room. The time for this usually varies from 30 – 90 seconds. One networking group with whom I regularly meet also passes a tray around the room with everyone’s business cards.

If there are no formal networking opportunities at a meeting, all attendees will probably be milling around a room or lobby area striking up conversations with each other. Although this may be difficult, especially at first, just walk right up to a group of people in conversation and listen. Everyone in the room knows you are all there for the same thing – networking – and will usually welcome you into the conversation.

Tips: # 1 Keep your business cards in your left pocket, easily accessible. When you are shaking hands with someone, you can easily reach into your pocket and get a business card. # 2 Wear a name badge, and write clearly if it is a sticker. # 3 Smile. # 4 Ask others about their businesses first. This is more of a networking rule! # 5 Have something to say. Take your elevator speech and boil it down to about 10 words/7 seconds. # 6 After a few minutes, move on to other people.

You may want to ask for help from the leader or organizer of the group or event. Ask them to introduce you to people in your target. If you run out of things to say, ask open-ended questions. “Why are you here today? Who is your ideal customer? What is your biggest business problem?” are a few that work well. You are showing interest and qualifying them at the same time.

After you leave the event, send everyone you met a “Nice to meet you” email. If you want to maximize the effect of your networking, ask if you can get to know them better by meeting one-on-one to learn about each others’ businesses for purposes of referring to each other. Use the phone for your best customer/referral prospects. This is where the real power of networking kicks in. It is very unlikely someone will trust you enough in 5 minutes to decide to refer their hard-earned customers to you!

Networking can get you customers, but keep a longer-term approach. Keep going back to the same groups and presenting a consistent message directed at your target market again and again. When your contacts are ready to buy what you’re selling or come in contact with someone who is, they’ll think of you first!

About the author

Audrey Burton is a Business Coach. Audrey is a caring, but practical coach. Audrey’s ultimate goal is to help women entrepreneurs to be happy and successful at work. She keeps her clients focused and motivated by helping them create a custom plan they can be excited about. To sign up for her fr*ee, monthly email newsletter and to better understand how she works, visit her website at http://www.tigresscoaching.com. I teach women entrepreneurs to be happy at work!

coachaudrey@audreyburton.com

PR That Entrepreneurs Often Overlook

PR That Entrepreneurs Often Overlook

If that sounds like you, here’s what you may be missing once the new enterprise is launched.

Public relations that really does something about the behaviors of those key outside audiences that most affect your new enterprise.

PR that uses a fundamental blueprint to deliver external stakeholder behavior change ? the kind that leads directly to achieving your venture?s objectives.

And PR that persuades many of those important outside folks to your way of thinking, then moves them to take actions that help your new enterprise succeed.

That?s why you as a small business owner must gear up to deal with the unattended perceptions out there that could nudge your fledgling venture closer to bankruptcy than success. Perceptions that, if left unattended, may well result in actions that run counter to those you and your banker had in mind.

For example, when new ventures fail, the wreckage is often assigned to undercapitalization. Seldom is failure attributed to a lack of an effective action plan that might have modified the behavior of prospects and other collaborators in a positive way, thus averting that failure.

So why support your new venture with press release public relations when a basic PR blueprint like this one can hold the key to your success? People act on their own perception of the facts before them, which leads to predictable behaviors about which something can be done. When we create, change or reinforce that opinion by reaching, persuading and moving-to-desired-action the very people whose behaviors affect the organization the most, the public relations mission is accomplished.

Add to that these kinds of results: fresh proposals for strategic alliances and joint ventures; customers making repeat purchases; prospects starting to look your way; community leaders beginning to seek you out; and even politicians and legislators viewing you as a true innovator.

Major caveat for a new entrepreneurial venture: because the cost of gathering key audience perception data ? an absolute must in this business ? can be substantial, it should be built into the original funding budget. That suggests that you, as the new venture leader, must take the lead in assuring upfront funding of the perception monitoring function.

So, with the people whose perceptions of your venture you care most about now the target of your PR effort, you are ready to launch a well-planned public relations program that can reach, persuade and move those individuals to actions you desire.

Here?s a public relations checklist entrepreneurs may find helpful.

From Day 1, you have to be certain your staff or agency public relations people are really committed to knowing how your outside audiences perceive your operations, products or services. And further, that negative key audience perceptions almost always lead to behaviors that can hurt your new venture. Fortunately, your PR people are in the perception and behavior business to begin with, so they should be of real assistance for your opinion monitoring project.

Professional survey firms are always available, but that can be expensive. So, whether it?s your people or a survey firm asking the questions, your objective is to identify untruths, false assumptions, unfounded rumors, inaccuracies, and misconceptions.

First, rank your external audiences as to impacts on your operation. For example, #1 customers; #2 prospects; #3 employees; #4 local and trade media; #5 your local business community; #6 community leaders, and so forth. Then, involve your PR team in plans for monitoring and gathering perceptions by questioning members of those you expect will be your most important outside audiences.

Second, interact with members of your key audience and jot down their first impressions of your fledgling operation, especially any problem perceptions.

Use questions like these: Now that you?ve read our brochure, do you believe our products/services will be of use to people in this area? Have you used the services of our competitors? Did you find them useful? Fairly priced? Any problems? Listen carefully for any rumors or misconceptions about your new operation.

Third, decide which of the negatives you discovered, rates as the #1 corrective public relations goal ? for example, clarify the misconception, spike that rumor, correct the false assumption or fix a certain inaccuracy.

Fourth, when you finally have the chance to address your key stakeholder audience to help persuade them to your way of thinking, what will you say? Ideally, you will prepare persuasive and compelling messages that not only provide details about your product and service quality and diversity, but address perception problems that surfaced during your monitoring sessions. As the method of communication can affect the credibility of the message, you may wish to deliver it in small meetings or presentations rather than through high-visibility media releases.

Not so incidentally, here?s where a talented writer earns his or her keep because s/he must put together some very special, corrective language. Words that are not only believable, but clear and factual if they are to correct the negatives and shift perception/opinion towards your point of view and lead to the behaviors you have in mind.

Fifth, in the same way Quesadillas come with sauteed onions and smoky cheese, the right PR strategy tells you how to reach your goal. But just three strategies are available in matters of perception and opinion — change existing perception, create perception where there may be none, or reinforce it. And be sure your new strategy is a natural fit with your new public relations goal.

Sixth, things get simpler here. Select communications tactics to carry your message to the attention of your target audience. Making certain that the tactics you select have a record of reaching folks like your audience members, you can pick from dozens of tactics. Everything from speeches, facility tours, emails and brochures to consumer briefings, media interviews, newsletters, personal meetings and many others.

Seventh, how do you decide that your efforts are changing perceptions for the better? As time passes, you should notice increased awareness of your business, a growing public perception of the role your business plays in the community; and, of course, growing numbers of prospects.

You can track these results by interacting on a regular basis with people from each of your key audiences, especially by monitoring print and broadcast media and through interaction with key customers and prospects.

But eighth, questions will soon appear as to progress. That will demand a second perception monitoring session with members of your external audience. Using the same questions used in the first benchmark session, you will now be alert to indications that the negative perception is being altered as you wished.

In public relations, we?re lucky that these efforts can be accelerated through more communications tactics as well as increasing their frequencies.

The stakes are high ? the very survival of your new enterprise!

So, concentrate on what?s most important — people in your new venture?s community or marketing area behave like people everywhere, they take actions based on their perception of the facts available to them.

In the proverbial nutshell, here you have a workable public relations blueprint that can help you persuade your most important outside stakeholders to your way of thinking, then move them to behave in a way that leads to the success of your new enterprise.

Robert A. Kelly ? 2004.

Please feel free to publish this article and resource box in your ezine, newsletter, offline publication or website. A copy would be appreciated at mailto:bobkelly@TNI.net.

About The Author

Bob Kelly counsels, writes and speaks to business, non-profit and association managers about using the fundamental premise of public relations to achieve their operating objectives. He has been DPR, Pepsi-Cola Co.; AGM-PR, Texaco Inc.; VP-PR, Olin Corp.; VP-PR, Newport News Shipbuilding & Drydock Co.; director of communi- cations, U.S. Department of the Interior, and deputy assistant press secretary, The White House. He holds a bachelor of science degree from Columbia University, major in public relations. mailto:bobkelly@TNI.net. Visit:http://www.prcommentary.com

Humor in Advertising

Humor in Advertising

Many of the most memorable ad campaigns around tend to be funny. Advertisers use this strategy to attract customers to their product. Audiences like to be entertained, but not pitched. People will pay more attention to a humorous commercial than a factual or serious one, opening themselves up to be influenced. The key to funny advertising is assuring the humor is appropriate to both product and customer. The balance between funny and obnoxious can often be delicate; and a marketer must be certain the positive effects outweigh the negative before an advertisement can be introduced.

The best products to sell using humor tend to be those that consumers have to think the least about. Products that are relatively inexpensive, and often consumable, can be represented without providing a lot of facts, and that’s where there’s room for humor. Candy, food, alcohol, tobacco and toys/entertainment related products have proven to benefit the most from humor in their campaigns. One of the most important things to keep in mind is relevance to the product. An example of an extremely successful humorous campaign is the series of “Yo Quiero Taco Bell” commercials. The star, a tiny talking Chihuahua who is passionate about his Taco Bell got people repeating the company’s name across the country. The repetition of the company name and the actual content of the commercial reinforce the message in a relevant manner. Taco Bell saw a substantial rise in sales and their own mascot became a pop icon.

Another point to consider when using humor in advertising is that different things are funny to different people. A commercial that may leave one person gripping their sides from laughter may leave a bad taste in another’s mouth. The target market must always be considered. What’s funny in a client presentation may not be funny on an airplane, at a country club or in a hospital. An example of a recent humorous product introduction is Mike’s Hard Lemonade. These commercials feature over exaggerated and comical violence with the underlining message that no one’s day is hard enough to pass up a Mike’s. It failed, ranking as one of the year’s most hated campaigns by both men and woman according to 2002’s Ad Track, a consumer survey. The series of commercials are aimed at 21-29 year old males and the repetition of comical violence (such as a construction worker being impaled on the job and a lumberjack cutting off his own foot) gets less and less funny every time it’s viewed. Eventually the joke just wore out and the commercial became annoying and offensive.

Humor in advertising tends to improve brand recognition, but does not improve product recall, message credibility, or buying intentions. In other words, consumers may be familiar with and have good feelings towards the product, but their purchasing decisions will probably not be affected. One of the major keys to a successful humorous campaign is variety, once a commercial starts to wear out there’s no saving it without some variation on the concept. Humorous campaigns are often expensive because they have to be constantly changed. Advertisers must remember that while making the customer laugh, they have to keep things interesting, because old jokes die along with their products.

Mark Levit is managing partner of Partners & Levit Advertising and a professor of marketing at New York University. Partners & Levit’s clients include Procter & Gamble, UnitedHealth Group, and GE Commercial Finance. For more information call 212-696-1200 or visit http://www.partnerslevit.com.

7 Questions to Ask Before You Advertise

7 Questions to Ask Before You Advertise

Most business owners and managers keep a fairly close eye on their marketing budgets. And nothing throws a budget out of whack faster than advertising. Advertising, or paying good money to get your message in front of your target market, still has a place in your marketing mix, although it’s not quite as effective as it once was.

If you’re going to advertise, you need to be smart about it — or you can quickly find yourself with a blown budget and not much to show for it. Below are seven questions to ask yourself before writing out that check.

1. Do you need to generate customers/traffic/leads/etc. right away? If so, then you better pull out your wallet. Advertising is hands down the fastest way to get your message in front of your target market. (You’re paying for placement after all.)

2. Do you have another way to get the word out about your business? For instance, do you have a customer database or an e-zine list? If so, then you might be better off sending an e-mail (assuming you have customers’ e-mails). Although technically e-mail announcements fall under advertising, I’m not counting it in this particular case because it’s more or less free (or very low cost).

Perhaps you have a good news angle and a good relationship with a reporter. Or you have a high-traffic Web site and/or blog. Or maybe you’re an active volunteer with a large organization and can use networking to get the message out.

But if none of those really apply, then you’d better take a closer look at advertising.

3. Do you need to augment your other marketing efforts? Maybe you have articles featured on a Web site targeted to your customer base. Great when your article is front and center and not-so-great when your article is buried in archives. A little advertising on that site can keep you in your target market’s sight all the time. Or maybe you struck gold and got a big article written about your company in the perfect trade publication. Fantastic for that month and not-so-fantastic for the other 11 months of the year. Or maybe it’s taking you longer than you’d like to drive traffic to your Web site. Advertising is good for speeding things along.

Frequency is king when it comes to marketing — if you’re out of your customers’ sight, you’re probably out of their mind when it comes to buying time. Advertising is a good way to beef up or speed up what you’re already doing.

4. Are other marketing methods not appropriate in this situation? Let’s say you want to have a sale. But your customer database is small (or nonexistent). Your Web site has minimal traffic. And you aren’t going to get any bites from the media since having a sale isn’t news. What do you do? Run some ads.

5. Would you rather save time than money? Let’s face it. Running an ad is easy. Other marketing methods are more time-consuming. If you want your marketing to be easy, then advertising is about as easy as it’s going to get. (Now there is a caveat to this one, because you can hire people to do some of those marketing tasks, such as updating Web sites, running PR campaigns, etc. However, not everything can be hired out so you still might be stuck spending time you don’t have.)

6. Are you planning to test a new campaign or a new product/target market? Running small, inexpensive ads can be a good way to test certain marketing aspects before launching big, expensive, time-consuming campaigns. If you want to penetrate a new market or if you have a new product to launch or a new marketing message to try, buy some ads and see what the response rate is. Another strength of advertising is control — you have total control over your test.

7. Do other marketing approaches never quite measure up? It happens. Advertising in one or two specific media outlets seem to generate more sales and more leads then anything else you’ve tried. If that’s the case, then don’t mess with it. As the old saying goes, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

Creativity Exercise — Advertising and your business

Is advertising right for your business? Try this exercise and see.

1. What’s your biggest marketing challenge right now? Write it down.

2. Go through the above list of questions and ask yourself each one. Does it apply to your situation? If it does, write that down too.

3. Do some brainstorming. In what ways can you use advertising to solve your marketing challenges? What media would work best? Online? Print? Radio? Television? Direct mail? Something else? Make up an ad for a variety of media.

Now do the exact opposite. Think of ways advertising WON’T work for your business. Brainstorm at least 25 reasons why advertising won’t work for your specific situation. Be silly. It’s a good way to loosen you up.

4. Go back and reread both your pro and con lists. Now read your ads. Do you like what you came up with? Do any of them resonate with you, even now after coming up with your list of objections?

You may have just come up with your next advertising campaign.

About the Author

Michele Pariza Wacek is the author of “Got Ideas? Unleash Your Creativity and Make More Money.” She offers two free e-zines that help subscribers combine their creativity with hard-hitting marketing and copywriting principles to become more successful at attracting new clients, selling products and services and boosting business. She can be reached at http://www.TheArtistSoul.com. Copyright 2005 Michele Pariza Wacek