Ad Talk 101 Blog

Straight Talk about Advertising
December 9, 2014

Can Small Business Compete with Big Chains in the Online Marketing World?

Author: Mark - Categories: Advertising Tips

With online advertising, like traditional media advertising, large businesses have obvious advantages. But they have weaknesses too. With online advertising, small businesses can be successful by applying a certain tactic of guerilla marketing. That tactic is to focus and concentrate resources.

Trout and Reis explained it best in their book Marketing Warfare where they define the Principles of Guerilla Warfare. They give three principles of which Principle Number One is the key to how a small business can successfully compete online with a bigger business. It says

Identify a segment that is small enough to defend.

Where the big business can afford to hire enough people to work many social media outlets, buy lots of advertising on many media, or advertise over a large geographic area, the small business can concentrate their resources. While they may not have the ability to manage a bunch of social media accounts, the small business may have the ability to out market the bigger business in one or two social media. While the small business may not be able to buy more advertising than the big business can in a 20 county market area, the small business may have enough advertising budget to dominate two or three counties.

With Cost Per Click Advertising, there are many ways the small business can shrink the parameters down to a size where they can compete. With Cost Per Click, the media will do whatever it can to get enough clicks to capture the budget you set. So the advertisers with the bigger budgets have an inherent advantage because the online media has to show their ads more to capture the bigger budget. However, the smaller business can compete by narrowing parameters like the time of day their ads appear, the geographic area where their ads appear, focusing keywords, or placement of ads by the devices the ads appear on, or in the case of banner ads, the sites they appear on. Depending on how a campaign is focused, whether it’s limited to a geographic area, time of day, or devices and websites, the online media has to show your ads more in those focused parameters in order to get enough clicks to capture your total budget, and they don’t want to leave money on the table.

Online digital marketing, whether it is social media cost per click, or SEO can be very time consuming and complicated. So if you do not have the time to manage an online campaign or the time to learn how to do it, you may want to find a person or firm that can handle it for you. In our next blog, we’ll talk about what to look for when shopping for someone to manage your digital online advertising.

January 31, 2013

Social Media and the Missing Moose Principle

Author: Mark - Categories: Uncategorized

MooseXingIn the late 1980’s, the most successful radio campaign of all time was the Motel 6 radio ads. You remember the ones with the folksy announcer, Tom Bodett, who always ended the spots with the famous line, “we’ll leave the light on for you.” The Richards Group, an advertising agency in Texas hired Bodett to perform on the spots, and even write many of them.

During the amazing run of that campaign, Mr. Bodett was asked why he thought the radio ads were so successful. Mr. Bodett, who lived in Alaska, and I believe still does told the following story:

“You see back in Alaska I lived for years down a long dirt road that wondered along a river and through the trees and there wasn’t hardly a day that went by where I didn’t see a moose standing in the river or on the road or walking down a ditch like it was nobodies business. But then on September 1st, Opening day of moose season, I could walk two days through the woods and never even smell one. Why? Because in this business, they’re what we call a target audience . . . and they know it just like a consumer knows when they are being fingered and they don’t stand still for it.”

So what does this have to do with the phenomenal success of his radio commercials? Tom Bodett thought if people knew advertisers were targeting them, they would go and hide, too. So he found a way to advertise to a targeted audience without them knowing they are being targeted, using very clever and fun copy in his ads.

If you’re a fan of Tom Bodett, and are interested in advertising, here is an excerpt from the talk he did for the Radio Industry back in 1991.

Of course a lot has changed in the advertising industry since then. But I doubt Mr. Bodett at the time had any idea how relevant his concept would still be today.

In fact, what Mr. Bodett taught us was the importance of not just avoiding the fact that advertising is targeting consumers, but that it must be fun. Thus, he hit on the essence of what really makes social media work. We have seen businesses use Facebook just to post ads with relatively marginal success. These businesses may have a core audience that does not mind constant advertising in their newsfeeds. But when businesses only post ads or promotions, they are seriously limiting the potential of the medium.

A good example of the difference between just posting advertising and posting fun stuff can be seen when we compared two businesses in our market here in Central Pennsylvania. One business has about 1,100 fans while the other has almost 4,600 fans. The business with 1,100 fans posts fun and interesting information for their fan base that gets lots of Comments, Likes and Shares, while the business with over 4,000 gets just a fraction of the interaction the business with the 1,100 gets. This is an important distinction, because the more interaction you get, the more people see your brand in their timeline. That means more impressions.

In conclusion, if you want to get the most out of your advertising, whether it is traditional media like radio, or social media like Facebook, content makes a huge difference. Do not be lazy and just post your latest print ad or give stuff away to get people to like you. Take the time and effort to look for fun and interesting stuff like cartoons or pictures that your fan base would find fun or interesting. Get involvement by asking questions (can you guess what this picture is?) Then, not only will you retain your base, but will get better results when you do advertise a special sale or event.

September 17, 2012

Hot Advertising Idea for 4th Quarter!

Author: Mark - Categories: Advertising Tips

Every Door Direct Mail (EDDM) is a great new way to do direct mail at a low cost.  Whether you are an experienced direct mail advertiser or new to direct mail, the United States Post Office program is a great way to save money or get into direct mail for the first time.

Over the past ten years our agency has backed off direct mail because of the high postage rates and the need for timely arrival.  But now with EDDM postage is just 14.5 cents per piece and we at Aim have a system to target postal routes by income.

I never thought I would be promoting direct mail again, but the Every Door Direct Mail® program is a good solution for a small business, making it practical to do direct mail on a relatively small budget.  Here’s how it works:

1.    Open a business account on the USPS site.

2.    Use their mapping tool to target carrier routes and get counts.

3.    Have your printer bundle the printed pieces in stacks of 50.

4.    Deliver to the post office no address or bulk mail permit needed.

The Post Office always had a way to save money with bulk mail if you were willing to do a lot of the work yourself.  But the problem was you had to have a bulk mail permit and understand the process.  The EDDM program makes it easier to take advantage of the discounts by not requiring the bulk mail permit.  It also lowers expenses by making it possible to mail without labeling, and has simplified the processing and delivery for the customer.

A very important advantage of the EDDM program is the local delivery system.  Instead of your mail going to one location to sort and it gets distributed to all the local offices, you take it directly to the local offices.  This process bypasses the Post Office distribution system, making it easier to make sure your mail hits at the right time.  Timing is a big issue.

The savings typically are a third to almost half.  Where we have done 5,000 piece mailings for some of our clients, with EDDM we can mail 10,000 pieces for about the same price.  So if you would like to include direct mail as part of your Christmas advertising, you still have time to get it started.  But don’t wait too long. You still need some lead-time.

AIM Advertising has taken the EDDM to a new level by avoiding saturation mailings to home that do not fit your target.  We have combined EDDM with a program that sorts routes by household income and home values. This way we can target and save you even more.

(Example, you would not want to mail a piece on pellet stoves to a rental property)

For your most important 4th quarter this year the Every Door Direct just may be the vehicle you have been looking for.  Call us or go up to the USPS site and get going.

May 24, 2012

Throwing Money Down A Dark Hole?

Author: Mark - Categories: Advertising Tips

Not caring about the effectiveness of your advertising usually means you are wasting money. The efficiency can be measured best on the Internet, but mass media advertising can also be tracked through your Internet site.

The aim of advertising is either increase in sales or building brand. In our 30 years of advertising experience, we have never had a tool that can track results for advertising like Google Analytics. If your business does not have a web page advertising strategy you are missing the most important detail in marketing your business. At the end of this article, you will see a graph that tracked radio and digital screen advertising using Google event tracking.

Stop advertising everywhere until you can track it!

Here are the four main components of an online presence that every small business should evaluate.

  1. Interactive Website
    In the old days, websites required understanding programming languages to build and update. This could often be very costly for businesses, because businesses evolve and change. We add new services, we add new products, and sometimes our key employees change and all these things require website updates.The good news is technology has changed. There are now open source templates that can be built to grow with your business. Today even your receptionist can easily update websites. For your site to serve as an online marketing tool it must be fresh, up-to-date and growing with your industry.
  2. Content Marketing
    Content has become more important. Content is about sharing information about your industry and your business with your target market. Content plays a vital role in getting ranked in search engines and it also helps to build credibility and trust with those that are interested in what you have to offer. It takes a commitment and it takes consistency, but it can help you in creating an online presence that changes your business.
  3. Search Marketing
    Search marketing is the difference of whether people find you or not when searching for your targeted keywords. Do you have your top 10 key words in your site? Google your targeted keywords and see for yourself. This is something you shouldn’t take lightly, because it means your target market is finding your competitors, not you.
  4. Social Media Marketing
    At this point you may not understand social media marketing, but again it’s something that cannot be ignored. Social media marketing that might work for you are:
    • Twitter – A network of strangers.
    • LinkedIn – A network for professionals.
    • Facebook – A network of family and friends.
    • Google+ – A growing network that will combine all of the above and impact your search results.

There are other components that can aid in creating an interactive and effective online presence for your business, but before you go one step further with your marketing you must have the four components listed above in place and running smoothly. Once you’ve done that you can move into the next level and create a marketing powerhouse online for your business.

Moving ahead with mass media marketing before you fix your web is premature. Until you have a gauge for what is working in your advertising moving ahead will only make more work and cost you more money rather than drive more business.

March 15, 2012

Converting Advertising Strategies from the 1900’s to the 2000’s

Author: Mark - Categories: Advertising Tips

As we learn the many new ways to advertise created by new digital media, are we forgetting some advertising basics?  Why do we advertise?  To break it down to its simplest form, we advertise for one of the following reasons:

  1. To increase awareness of a product or service, so when someone needs that product or service, the one with the most awareness gets the best chance of making a sale.  This is called top of mind awareness (TOMA).
  2. To solve a problem, whether it be a dip in traffic, too much inventory or some other situation that can be solved by getting the word out.
  3. To take advantage of an opportunity, such as the closing of a competing business, a big price advantage over competitors, an event going on that you can capitalize on, or having the product or service needed at just the right time.

While there could be other reasons to advertise, if you break it down to basics, most reasons will fall under the above three categories.

Increasing awareness (TOMA advertising) has always been one of the most powerful ways to grow a business.  It is a proven fact (http://www.toma.com/workshops.htm) that the amount of awareness of a product or service directly correlates to share of market for that product or service.  But changes in consumer habits have changed everything: where it used to be as easy as just running a consistent ad flight in the newspaper, radio or TV, factors such as the cost of the ads, diminishing audience for the ads and changing consumer-shopping habits have all created new challenges.

The cost/reach ratio of traditional media has made TOMA advertising very expensive.  At the same time, even when consumers think of your brand first, it is easy to go to the Internet to research or compare prices. When consumers go to the internet, it increases the chance that even the most well-known brands could lose to a competitor that may appear above them in a search engine, be linked to related sites or a variety of other ways they are found on the internet.

So what’s replacing the traditional way to gain top of mind awareness?  The bad news is there are few ways that are as easy as buying some ads and sitting back while the media does the work.  However, one new medium that may work similar to traditional media, but costs less and is still effective, is Place Based Media, also known as Digital Signage. You’ve seen them in hotels, supermarkets, restaurants and many public places where there are large numbers of people. Digital Signage works much like traditional media, only better, because the audiences are clearly defined based on the location of the advertising.  Plus, the audiences can be as big or bigger than traditional media, while costing much less.

Social Media, email marketing, and banner advertising are other ways to stay in front of your potential customers using new media.  As you may know, Social Media takes a lot of your time.  You have to build a following and continue to communicate with your followers.  We have found social networking works better for some businesses than others, especially social businesses such as radio stations, amusement parks, and bowling alleys. If your business has a social aspect, then social media can be very effective.  Business to business social networking is good on a site such as LinkedIn.  However, retail stores have a harder time because people do not want stores trying to sell things to them.

Banner advertising on Facebook under the sponsored ads and Google AdWords are very good ways to keep your name in front of a select group of potential customers.  Finally, email marketing is one of the best ways to keep high awareness among your best customers, which are people who subscribe to your emails.

Using new media to solve problems or take advantage of opportunities is a little more challenging.  If you do not have a big email list or fan base on Facebook, there are few ways you can reach a lot of people quickly for events like sales.  However, if you do have a large following on Facebook and do have a large email list, you can reach your best customers and followers quickly and with a great deal of impact. One other good way to reach many people quickly is with Facebook sponsored ads.

Finally, one of the hottest new ways of marketing in the digital age is Search Engine Marketing. Search engines on the Internet have been the biggest factor in changing how the consumer shops and buys. This form of advertising is unique to anything we did in the 1900’s.  The fundamental difference is instead of the advertisers reaching out to the consumer, the consumer reaches out to the advertisers.  The trick is to be there, where and when the consumer is reaching out.  This form of advertising does not correlate with any of the traditional forms.  But as the universe of consumers who shop on line grows, Search Engine Advertising will become one of the most important ways to grow your business.

March 12, 2012

Aim Digital Visions Expands Weis TV Network

Author: Mark - Categories: Press Release

Aim Digital Visions of Lewisburg, Pennsylvania today announced the expansion of its Weis TV video network into thirty Weis Markets stores in Harrisburg, Lancaster and York.

These targeted stores have average foot traffic of 1.7 million shoppers per month. Aim Digital Visions has been testing an ad supported digital sign network in six Weis Markets stores since October of 2005.  The addition of the thirty stores will increase the size of the Weis TV Network to a total of thirty-six stores, reaching 2.2 million shoppers per month. The expansion will be completed by mid- April.

“We’re pleased to expand the Weis video network to 36 stores in three of our key markets.  This network is a visible and cost-effective marketing tool that reaches our customers when they are at the front-end,” said Brian Holt, Weis Markets Vice President, Marketing.

Aim Digital Visions also operates video networks in the Country Cupboard complex in Lewisburg, Strawberry Square shopping center in Harrisburg, and Shady Maple Smorgasbord in northern Lancaster County. The entire Aim TV Network is the largest digital sign network in the state of Pennsylvania reaching 2.7 million people per month.

Aim Digital Visions also operates video networks in the Country Cupboard complex in Lewisburg, Strawberry Square shopping center in Harrisburg, and Shady Maple Smorgasbord in northern Lancaster County. The entire Aim TV Network is the largest digital sign network in the state of Pennsylvania reaching 2.7 million people per month.

Weis Markets currently operates 161 stores in Pennsylvania, Maryland, New York, New Jersey and West Virginia.  For more information about Weis Markets, Inc., please visit www.weismarkets.com or go to www.facebook.com/WeisSuperMarket.

Aim Digital Visions operates out of 139 Market Street, Lewisburg, Pennsylvania. For more information on digital sign networks go to www.aimdigitalvisions.com.

January 10, 2012

Are We Too Busy to Read?

Author: Mark - Categories: Advertising Tips

When asked what made him so successful, Wayne Gretzky answered, “I skate to where the puck is going to be, not where it has been.”  This is a great analogy for success in business.

More than ever today, the key to business success is to get ahead of the trend. Do not look at other experts, markets, and trends to see where you should be.  Look to where those experts, markets, and trends need to be in the future.

Here at Aim, we have always embraced new ideas and try to see what new ideas will be in demand in the future.  When we are confident in where to position our business in the future, we position ourselves there now.  This takes a leap of faith.  But now more than ever, future successes will go to the companies that are willing to take that leap.

Here are five trends in marketing that may help you see where you need to be today to be in the right place in the future:

1.     Less reading and more graphic, video and audio advertising – More and more, people do not want to read. From our experience and observations, as well as trends that we have followed over many years, it is clear that if people are given a choice of watching a video or reading a newspaper article, they will watch the video.  YouTube is the second largest search engine in the world just behind Google.  If people have the opportunity to listen to a book in audio or read it, more will be listening.

So where should you be with you advertising for the future?  Obviously, less printed word and more pictures, video and audio.

2.     Continued growth of social networking – When people talk about social networking, we usually think of the Internet.  But social networking has always been around in the form of in-person events such as chamber of commerce mixers, trade shows, trade association events, and municipal associations to name just a few. What is changing is not just the way we socialize, but also the importance of socializing.  People today are more cautious about who they do business with and who they get to know.

3.     Use of social media – So what can you do to increase your social reach? First, determine how social networking fits into your business objective. What is more effective: social networking on the Internet or in person? Just about any business should at least have a presence on Facebook. But traditional retail may not find Facebook as effective as in-person events like expositions and in-person promotions. Entertainment-type businesses such as restaurants, amusement parks, or bowling centers may find Facebook very powerful.  Finally, do not confuse social media with other types of Internet marketing. (Collaborative networks such as Wikipedia, blogs and micro blogs such as Twitter, or content communities such as Flicker and YouTube.)  These types of web sites offer a wide variety of ways to market beyond the social aspect.  You can learn more about marketing with these types of Internet sites at our blog at adtalk101.com

4.     Web site design simplified – We believe the most successful web sites will be the ones that are the simplest to use and easiest to find what you are looking for quickly. That’s how Yahoo beat Lycos, Alta Vista and Info Seek. Remember them? Then Google came along and beat Yahoo. Why? Compared to Yahoo, Google loaded faster and was easier to use because it took less effort to figure out how to start searching.  While Google has a ton of good stuff behind the home page, their main search page has almost nothing on it except two buttons: Google Search and I’m Feeling Lucky. Then at the top there is a very simple and easy to understand menu.  With mobile being the single fastest growing segment in the world of digital marketing, busy web sites with everything on the home page including the kitchen sink just will not fly.

If your web site is cluttered, consider simplifying it.  While you want as much relevant content as possible on your site, don’t try to cram it into too few pages.

5.     Spend Less on advertising and more on making your product unique – There was a day when all it took to build a business or increase your existing business was to have a good product or service and buy some ads in the newspaper, radio or TV.  But like Seth Godin explains in his book Purple Cow, it is often cheaper to do something remarkable with your business than to be ordinary and grow your business with traditional advertising.  He offers many examples of businesses that did something remarkable with their product or business, which enabled them to grow their businesses with less advertising.  The reason he gives is a remarkable product or business idea can be grown through a core audience of loyal customers who will spread the word for you.  You’ve heard word of mouth is the best form of advertising.  That certainly is true if it spreads fast enough.  Today, if you create a remarkable product or business, with the help of the Internet, it can be much more economical to spend more on the product or business model and less on traditional advertising methods.

So if you have a business, what can you do to be remarkable?  Ideas that you probably would have rejected because of cost may make sense when you consider the power of the idea, and how little you will need to spend to get it take off. Forty years ago, Hertz, and then Avis, built huge businesses using traditional media. Then Enterprise did something that made the operation of their business more expensive than Hertz and Avis…but it was remarkable. Enterprise Picks You Up. With very little advertising compared to what Hertz and Avis spent 40 years earlier, Enterprise in a very short time grew to three times the size of Hertz, which used to be the number one car rental company in the country.

I hope these suggestions help you in the coming year.  Have a Great 2012.

October 5, 2011

Small Business, Small Market – How to Market with Social Media Effectively

Author: Mark - Categories: Advertising Tips

There are lots of “how-to” articles and blogs on social media marketing. If it seems to you that most of them are geared toward big companies, you are not alone. Who else can wade through all the social media sites, understand how each one works, and figure out how to apply the best social media to market their business?

The biggest objection we’ve heard from businesses across Pennsylvania from Lancaster to Williamsport to The Poconos, is using social media takes too much time. Small business people have to wear too many hats, so they do not have the time to learn about all the types of social media, let alone maintain a social media marketing program.

Why do you need to have a social media marketing plan? Because it is the next stage of the digital age which has put the audience in control, making traditional advertising methods less relevant. So if you are not learning how to use social media, you will be at a big disadvantage.

How To Start

Choose the social media sites that make the most sense for your business. This is simpler than it might seem. While there are 201 social media sites listed on Wikipedia, for most businesses in smaller markets, most of them are not worth investing in. Retail businesses wanting to reach small geographic areas need social media sites that reach enough people in their area to be effective. Because the internet is world wide, you need to choose the sites with the largest user base. But first, let’s look at the types of social media sites. According to Kaplan and Haenlein of ESCP Europe, there are six different types of social media:

    1. collaborative projects (e.g. Wikipedia),
    2. blogs and microblogs (e.g. Twitter),
    3. content communities (e.g. Youtube,),
    4. social networking sites (e.g. Facebook, LinkedIn),
    5. virtual game worlds (e.g. World of Warcraft), and
    6. virtual social worlds (e.g. Second Life, The Sims).

One social media type I think they missed is Location Based social media (e.g. Foursquare)

Now decide which types of the social media sites make most sense for you.

Wikipedia

Collaborative sites like Wikipedia may be a limited way to market since you can not advertise on it and it is very difficult to get a story on the site. One way we have been able to get on Wikipedia is by finding a way to be relevant to an existing story on Wikipedia. Now, Wikipedia aside, let’s focus on the sites with enough users to be useful for small market businesses. At this point in time that would be Facebook, Youtube, Twitter, and LinkedIn.

Here are the approximate user bases for five of the top social media sites.

  • Facebook – 700,000,000
  • Youtube – 490,000,000
  • Twitter – 200,000,000
  • LinkedIn – 54,000,000
  • Foursquare – 10,000,000

Facebook has about 80,000 to 90,000 user within 50 miles of Lewisburg, PA. Half of all Twitter users (about 100,000,000) are in the US. That’s about one third of the population. Since the LinkedIn world is focused on business people, 54,000 is a good number. I recently looked for the number of LinkedIn users within 50 miles of Lancaster, Williamsport and Scranton and found about 200,000.

Facebook

Not only does Facebook have the most users, it also has the most ways to touch and interact with the audience. You can buy advertising two ways. One way is with a Sponsored Ad. The other is with a Paid Story. A Sponsored Ad is one of those little square ads you see in the banner on the right. These ads can be seen by anyone on Facebook. One of the great powers of this form of advertising is the ability to reach a lot of people in small markets for very low cost, and the ability to target using the huge database of Facebook user profiles. A Paid Story can be seen only by friends and fans (fans are people who Like you on Facebook) in your news feed. In order to run Paid Stories you will need to install Facebook Insights. You can advertise to your friends or fans for free.

What is the difference between fans and friends? From a marketing viewpoint, the main difference is friends can write on your wall and you can write on your friends’ walls. Fans can write on your wall however you can not write on your friends’ walls. Why is this an important distinction? When you write on a friend’s wall, all of their friends can see it in their newsfeeds. That increases the reach of your communication times the number of friends your friend has. If you wrote on the wall of 20 friends and each of those friends had 250 friends, your communication would be seen by 5,000 people. Not only is this a pretty good sized number, but if you choose friends that are interested in what you posted, chances are a lot of their friends may be too. Fans only see what you write on your wall in their newsfeeds.

This is fundamental about Facebook for businesses. There are two types of accounts on Facebook: personal accounts and business accounts. Only personal accounts can have friends. Business accounts can only have fans. Businesses can not open personal accounts, so the objective of a business account is to build up a fan base. A fan base is like a mailing list. But on Facebook, you can reach out more often and in many different ways to stay in touch with your best customers and potential customers by appearing in their newsfeeds.

In order to get the advantage of having friends, some businesses create personal accounts for mascots or fictional characters that represent their businesses. This way they can reach out through their friends to potentially 25 million people. An amusement park can have an account for their mascot. A car dealer can have an account for their comical radio spokesperson. But one important thing to keep in mind if you write on walls for a business objective, you need to avoid selling and focus on having fun.

Youtube

Youtube is the second largest search engine in the world, second only to Google. Youtube is less a stand-alone social networking site than Facebook. It is best used along with other referring sites such as social media sites, company web sites, and mobile phone apps.

Twitter

Twitter is more of a news site, but has its uses for business. One of the best uses of Twitter is to build a reputation as an expert. How that works is people find you through various methods such as search engines like the Adobe Tweet Deck or Twitter’s search engine. If they like what you are tweeting, whether it is social or business information, they can choose to follow you. Once someone becomes a follower, they can see all your tweets just like your friends can see your Facebook posts. Another very popular use of Twitter is for employment advertising.

LinkedIn

LinkedIn is much like Facebook, but focuses on business. It works much the same way as Facebook. Instead of a newsfeed, LinkedIn calls it an update. Instead of writing an update status on Facebook, you share an update on LinkedIn. I know some people who have had success with social marketing on LinkedIn to get jobs.

You also can buy advertising on LinkedIn. Purchasing ads on LinkedIn works very much the same as buying Sponsored Ads on Facebook. We have not yet experimented with LinkedIn Advertising, but I have read many favorable reviews on the internet. It makes sense for business to business advertising. We will let you know how it works out when we give it a try.

June 21, 2011

A Case Study – Radio Versus New Media. Which Do You Think Won?

Author: Mark - Categories: Uncategorized

A Case Study Radio Versus New Media, which Do You Think Won?

 

In February, March, and April, our agency ran an ad campaign for one of our clients designed to see what media would send the most traffic to their web site.  We ran a three-month campaign on five radio stations and on a video network in six supermarkets covering approximately the same geographic area as the radio stations.

 

The advertiser was a furniture store offering an on-line gift certificate for $25 when anyone went to their web site and put in a key word unique to each media.  The objective was to:

  1. Determine if people respond to these media
  2. How well do the various radio stations and the video network perform
  3. The cost per response from each media
  4. Get people to subscribe to their e-news letter

 

One media we did not plan to test, but got tested anyway, was the Internet via Twitter and Facebook.  We thought this might happen when the radio stations realized we were tracking the responses from their stations.  We tracked the response using Google Analytics Event Tracking which told us every time anyone clicked on the Gift Certificate on the client’s site, and what keyword they used.

 

The stations we used were a Pop Music Station, An Adult Contemporary Station, A Country Station, a Talk Station and a Soft Rock/Easy Listening Station. On the first day, the Country and Soft Rock stations each sent one person to the site.  On the second day the Pop Music station sent 37 unique visitors, the Adult Contemporary sent four, the Country sent two more, the Soft Rock sent one more and the talk station sent one more, and the video network sent one visitor.

 

The sudden appearance of 37 visitors from one station in a matter of hours told us something else was going on.  So we opened our Tweet Deck™ to see if anyone Tweeted the key word information.  We found the Pop station’s morning personality did indeed tweet to his 133 followers at the time, to go to the client’s site and put in the key word for his station.  We then checked Facebook and found the same personality sent the same message to his approximately 1,300 Facebook followers at the time, but this time included a direct link to the client’s site.  We then checked Google’s source tracking and saw, of the 37 visitors they sent that day, 11 came directly from Facebook and three came directly from people at the station.  Since no direct link was included in the Twiiter message, we cannot determine how many of the other 23 hits were sent as a response to the radio spot or other sources.  But time will tell because we set the site up to allow each visitor to register only one time.

 

While it was nice of the Pop station personality to send all those people to the client’s site with Twitter and Facebook, and show us how powerful internet advertising is, it did not show us if running spots on his station was able to send any visitors.  It was interesting that the Soft Rock Station and the Talk Station which are sister stations to the Pop station only sent a total of three visitors the entire three months.

 

The Tally for February

By the end of February, the first month of our survey, this was the tally.

Pop station – 16*

Adult Contemporary – 7

Country Station – 7

Video Network – 3

Soft Rock Station – 2

Talk Station – 1

 

*In addition to the three visitors sent directly from people at the Pop station, 16 more hits came from people at that station in February for a total of 19 visits from people at the station.  We subtracted that along with the 11 hits from Facebook.  Of the remaining 16, we cannot determine how many of those were sent by the radio advertising or another source such as Twitter.

 

Here’s the Tally for March

Country Station – 7

Pop Station – 5*

Adult Contemporary – 4

Video Network – 2

Talk Station – 0

Easy Listening Station – 0

 

*Of 16 visitors for the Pop Station, Google showed us that 11 visitors came from people at the station leaving only five that are not necessarily suspect to rigging the results.

 

Here’s the Tally for April

Video Network – 7

Adult Contemporary – 2

Pop Station – 1*

Country Station – 0

Talk Station – 0

Easy Listening – 0

*Of the five total visitors, four came from people at the station, leaving 1 as the only visitor not necessarily suspect to rigging the result.

 

What did we learn?

We learned that the Internet has the ability to get a quick response at no financial cost.  But before you get excited, consider how many hours it takes to get 1,300 friends on Facebook and 133 followers on Twitter.  Then, once you get the friends and followers, what does it take to get the credibility or popularity to get them to respond? While it appears the Internet outperformed radio, radio can take credit for the large following and credibility of the Pop station personality.

 

In conclusion, there are many ways to build a large following.  But one effective way is to use mass media.  Since every person that put in a key word on our client’s site also signed up for the client’s e-news letter, the client ended up getting 139 new e-newsletter subscribers that he can reach out to again and again plus about 20 customers directly in the door to redeem the coupon they got.

 

A footnote. Only after the survey was almost over, we realized we could have recorded on each certificate, what key word was used to get the certificate.  This would have enabled us to see which media reached persons who would actually redeem the certificate. This is something we hope to do again soon and will include that information when we do.

December 28, 2010

Are You Still Advertising Like You Did In The 1900s?

Author: Mark - Categories: Uncategorized

If you buy traditional media advertising such as radio, newspaper, TV, billboard, and direct mail, your advertising should be focused on driving people to your web site. Why? According to BIA/Kelsey and ConStat, 97% of all consumers now use online media to research products or services in their local area before buying.  If you don’t have a web site, get one.  I have seen statistics that as many as 46 percent of businesses do not have a web site. I couldn’t believe it until I started looking around.  If you do a Google search for oil companies near Sunbury, PA you will find many oil companies on Merchant Circle, City Search, Yellow Pages, Manta, and other sites with contact information, but to my amazement, none of them had web sites!  If you Google doctors near Lewisburg, Pennsylvania, less than half had their own web sites.  I also tried auto service near Milton, PA.  Of the first ten that showed up, only two had web sites.  The rest showed up just on Google maps with little more than a phone number and an address.

I can only assume a lot of these businesses have decided they do not need a web site because they think people do not shop their products or service online.  Yet many of these businesses advertise heavily in traditional media.  Without a web site, their radio, newspaper, billboards or TV advertising is equivalent to dumping money into a black hole.  Remember most people visit businesses on line before they visit in person or even make a phone call.

The other major reason a web site is so important is for tracking your advertising.  With a web site using Google Analytics you can get tremendous insight into what advertising is working and what is not working.  If the internet as we know it today were around in the 1920’s, the famous saying by John Wanamaker which goes “Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted — the trouble is, I don’t know which half,” would never have been said.

The analytics data provided by Google is invaluable to assessing the effectiveness of your advertising.

The analytics data provided by Google is invaluable to assessing the effectiveness of your advertising.

In the above snapshot of a Google Analytics dashboard, you can see how many people are visiting plus many other key statistics that can tell you how well your site is received and how well other advertising media is working.  The above sample shows peaks in the number of visits where email promotions ran.  Information such as bounce rate tells how many visitors looked at one page and left the site.  Factors such as bounce rate, pages/visit, and average time on site are just some factors that help you improve the performance of your site.

This analytics data also provides demographic information about your potential customers.

This analytics data also provides demographic information about your potential customers.

The above screen shot shows how people came to the site as well as what town they came from.  The source media shows how people found your site.  If you have links on other sites or you are advertising on web banners, when people click on those banners or links, it will log where that visit originated from.  If it says the source/medium is direct/(none) that means the visitor went directly to your site by typing your exact domain name into their browser.  This information along with the towns they are in can help you understand how your other advertising is performing.  If you run billboards and suddenly start seeing more hits coming from the town where that billboard is located, it is possible the billboard is driving people to your site.

I’ve just scratched the surface of what you can learn from Google Analytics.  But you have to have a web site to get this information.  Then you have to have a Google Analytics Account which is free.  And finally you have to have your site set up to communicate with your Google Analytics account which is very easy for your web master to set up for you.

Next, we’ll talk about reaching your customers through email marketing.  Email marketing is taking over many of the traditional media advertising methods.

Email Marketing Could Replace Mass Media Advertising For Many Businesses

If you are finding it harder and harder to see return on your traditional media advertising, you should try email marketing.  The great advantages of email marketing are:

  • The ability to prevent waste of advertising on an audience that is not interested in your product
  • The ability to know just how many of your emails arrived in the mailboxes
  • The ability to see if the recipient opened the mail and who they are
  • The ability to see how much time they spent looking at your email
  • The ability to see the number of times they opened your mail or forwarded it to other people who opened it
  • The ability to see if they clicked on any links in your email which gives you an idea of what specific things they are interested in
  • The ability to drive recipients to your web site
  • It is incredibly cheap, typically as little as $35 a month to send 1000 emails as often as you like and $75 a month to send 10,000.

The only real challenge is developing a list.  You can buy email lists, but they are expensive and very broad based which defeats the purpose of targeting people interested in your specific product or service.  Also, purchased lists contain very small segments of the markets, as most people do not agree to allow their emails to be shared when they give it to a trusted vendor.  The best way is to develop your list from traffic within your business or call people who you believe may be good target customers and ask if you can send them an email.  Other good ways are to gather emails from people you meet at trade shows, or on social Internet sites or other organizations such as the chamber of commerce.

We recommend you use a prominent email marketing service such as Mail Chimp or Constant Contact.  The reason being is that people have spam filters that will not let unknown emails come into their inbox.  However, most spam filters trust emails coming from trusted sources and large companies such as Mail Chimp and Constant Contact. These companies have ways of making sure their customers are mailing to willing recipients.  They also offer very simple and attractive templates that help you set up professional and easy to read mailings.  Finally, these companies offer all the systems to make sure anyone who wants to unsubscribe can do so easily and they provide all those powerful statistics mentioned above.

A Good Web Site and Email Marketing Plan – A Total Advertising Program

Once you have a good web site and a good email marketing plan, all your need to do is optimize your web site so your site appears high on search engines.  Getting your site to be at or near the top on search engines is called search engine optimization (SEO).  This is something that you may need help with from a web professional with because the search engines have complex, multi-faceted systems to determine how to rank sites.  Many of the rules change from time to time as people try to figure out how to game the system.  But, a well-designed site will have the right words in the right places on the site.  It will use other factors such as font size and font weight.  Another factor that will help improve ranking on search engines is the amount of presence your site has on the world wide web, either through links on other sites or mentions in stories on other sites and in blogs, just to name a few.  Another big factor is how often your site changes.  When you update something on your site, the search engines see this and that helps your ranking.  Finally, the more traffic your site gets, the higher it ranks on the search engines.

Although it can be very time consuming, it is possible to run a total advertising campaign effectively using only your web site and email marketing and without using any traditional media.