Advertising and Marketing Mistakes to Avoid

When it comes to marketing and advertising your business, it is essential to develop a good marketing plan. Even the most solid plan, however can still fail if it is not implemented correctly. Avoiding these common advertising and marketing mistakes can help.

One mistake that many businesses make is to not market to a defined group or demographic. While it is important to appeal to a wide target audience possible, failing to identify your key demographic will keep your business from reaching the customers who are most interest in the product or service you have to offer. Focus your advertisements to appeal to your target audience, and you will naturally attract more business.

Effective marketing is based on a cohesive advertising strategy, so once you develop a logo and theme for your ads and promotions, make sure that you stick with it. A marketing strategy that is inconsistent will make your company look unfocused and unprofessional. This does not mean that you should focus your advertising and marketing efforts on one medium, however. Many businesses make this mistake because they are unfamiliar with certain mediums.

Don’t allow unfamiliarity with technology to hinder your marketing campaign. Make sure that you utilize all available media sources whenever possible, including television, print ads, radio, and online advertising. Many businesses fail to utilize online advertising tactics because they are unfamiliar with the technology. If this is the case, be sure to take the time to learn, and search for sites that make it easy for you to upload your video advertisements, even if you have little or no experience with this type of medium.

In the process of trying to attract new business, don’t make the common mistake of neglecting your repeat customers. Repeat customers make up an estimated 80 percent of most revenue, so be sure to target your marketing campaigns toward them as well. If your marketing message is unclear, however both new and repeat customers will be confused. Consistency is the key to achieving brand reputation.

The most effective marketing and advertising campaigns take into account the measure of their marketing results, so be sure to keep close track of what works and what doesn’t. Don’t be afraid to try new things and to discard ideas that don’t work for your business. Remember, the best marketing strategies are the ones that evolve and grow over time to meet the changing needs of a business, its target audience, and emerging technology.

To learn more about advertising online and other online marketing tips visit our site.

How to Get Free Advertising in the Yellow Pages

I actually stumbled across this technique completely by accident when searching for a home cleaner in the Yellow Pages. There was a large full page display Ad and when I called it, the phone number had been disconnected.

At first I thought I had called the wrong number. Then, when I called it again (double-checking of course to make sure I had the right number), all I got was the “beep-beep-beep” sound that confirmed that the number had been disconnected.

I was amazed to say the least. Here, a company had spent $30k to place a full page Ad, only to have the number misprinted? Surely it was an error. So – I did a little digging out of curiosity only to find the cleaning company had gone out of business.

Bingo.

I couldn’t believe my luck. That particular edition of the Yellow Pages still had six months to run, and surely there were going to be plenty of people calling that number. So – I immediately contacted the phone company and bought the number.

Two weeks later, I created a joint venture with another cleaning company and took 20% of the resulting sales. All we did was set up a separate phone line to handle these new inquiries so we could track the results. Not only did we get new business, we also had repeat customers of the bankrupt business calling and we managed to get over 50% of these people to do business with us.

Talk about easy money!

Now, of course not many businesses who place full page Ads (or even half page Ads) will go bust throughout the year. However, if you look long enough you will find 1 or 2. A more systematic approach is to subscribe to an insolvency site that publishes new bankruptcies. When you are notified of a company gone bust, you can then check if they have an Ad in the Yellow Pages first, then buy the number once it’s disconnected. In my experience the phone number is almost never sold when a small or medium sized business is put in liquidation.

Also, there are lots of unpaid listings in the Yellow Pages that get disconnected or no longer apply to that business. The reasons vary, but usually the smaller businesses are operated out of home and when the owner moves or sells his or her business the number sometimes doesn’t get changed over.

Of course, there’s nowhere near the same amount of value in unpaid listings but they do still work. Otherwise they wouldn’t be there. My advice – don’t pay more than $50 for phone numbers that are in unpaid listings. –Marcus Maclean

If You Own a Service Business, Forget Advertising

Strangely enough, almost every business out there at some point in time will turn away potential customers, despite the fact they’ve paid thousands of dollars in advertising to get that customer to call. The reasons why businesses do this varies, but in the service industry, most of the time they’re just too busy, or their service is too expensive.

This true fact creates an amazing opportunity to quickly, cheaply and effectively increase sales by simply taking the business your competitor doesn’t want or need or can’t cope with.

There are two ways to do it.

ONE: When your competitor has so much demand they literally cannot keep up, you could offer to do the jobs they can’t do (for lack of resources or labor) and pay them a referral fee. For example, a panel beater might be fully booked up for the month but a customer needs a job done urgently. Rather than kissing the sale good bye, your competitor might as well give you the job and take a cut.

In my experience, many owners don’t like this idea for the simple reason that their name is on the line. After all, if a customer comes to THEM and they point them in the direction of a competitor who botches the job up, it’s THEIR name that suffers.

So, it’s important when you approach a competitor that you are confident in the quality of your service and you have a track record to prove it.

TWO: Almost ALL service businesses will refuse jobs from time to time because a customer is haggling them on price. In my experience, I have NEVER come across a business that doesn’t deal with the dreaded price shopper.

If you do offer a lower-cost service than your competitor, and you’re willing to deal with these types of customers if only to get the sale, you could offer to have them refer their price shoppers to you.

A word of warning though. I would only use this method in slow periods when you really need the money. Or if you are able to offer a lower-cost service and still make good margins. The only one fatal flaw in this technique is that you’ll often attract the annoying customers who complain and never pay on time. But if you need the money – it’s worth it. — Marcus Maclean

Free Marketing and Free Advertising For Your Business

We all know that marketing and advertising is essential if one wishes to build a successful business. No matter how great your product is or how fantastic your company is, if no one knows what you are or what service you can provide then you are effectively invisible. So once you have your business you need to tell the world about it and this is where your marketing and advertising comes in.

Now before you rush out to spend a fortune on marketing firms let us look at some very simple and free ways to promote your business. This will of course assume that you have a company website. If you do not then you should design one or have one designed for you. These methods may sound simple and they may sound incredibly obvious yet they are tools that can increase traffic to your company website and can draw much needed attention to a particular product that you are trying to promote.

1) Articles

Sounds simple enough yet article writing is an often overlooked form of advertising. It is great for highlighting a particular product or service. Obviously the main body of the article would feature the service being offered and would list all the reasons why this service is essential and why this service can be best provided by your business. The article would also contain links to the particular page on your site that features this service or product. The beauty of the article is that you will on most occasions be allowed to provide links to your business within the author’s biography box at the end of the article. Once your article has been written you can then submit it to online article sites and to article directories. Traffic to your company website can be generated by this form of advertising and your monthly visitors will increase as you add more articles.

2) Forums

Forums are great at generating traffic. However, this must be approached correctly or you will loose much needed credibility as soon as readers think you are a “spammer”. There is nothing worse than seeing an endless stream of one line postings promoting a business idea. No matter how good the offer may be or how genuine, people will switch off. A site such as Yahoo Answers can be invaluable. You will look for a relevant question and give a good answer. Only then will you throw in a link to your website. Again just posting something like “click here for a good business solution” will provide no immediate help and will turn visitors away. However, if you present a good answer that provides real time solutions you can then add your link from a “to find out more…” perspective. Your credibility will thus increase as readers see that you are offering genuine help. Again any biographical information will provide links to the company website.

3) Incoming Links

Now this is specifically geared toward generating website traffic but at the same time it can increase your company profile and credibility. Maintaining a page of business links just for the sake of it does not do much for your page rank. This is especially true if the links are irrelevant to your business. Even relevant links are not that helpful if they are there just as a reciprocal token. If possible try to gain inbound links from respectable websites such as university or other educational websites. Anything coming from a government website would be beneficial too. Again you would present yourself to the relevant organisation and give them a good reason for them to link to your company website. What would they benefit from the link and what would their visitors benefit from seeing a link to you? Try to avoid link farms for they just provide a list of irrelevant reciprocal linking that do nothing for your page ranking or your credibility. In fact they will do more harm than good.

4) Company Blog

The use of a blog is great for keeping your current customers up to date. Here you can provide latest information including new product releases or new projects that the company is starting. One must never forget the customers that you have and a company blog is a great way of keeping them in the picture and remaining loyal customers.

Here we have looked at only four possible marketing and advertising methods, yet they are four methods that can be very successful in the long run. They will also cost you nothing except perhaps the odd paid listing in a good directory.

All of this will take time to establish, however when these methods have been used for some time you will reap the benefits. Always maintain your credibility though and of course your enthusiasm and your patience.

John Hewitt is a full time freelance writer. He has worked in many fields including music, the restaurant industry, film work and as an RSPCA animal welfare officer. If you would like to see more of his articles and poetry then please visit http://www.john-hewitt.com and feel free to sign up to the RSS feed.

Exhibition Display Stands

Exhibition display stands play a very important role for a successful exhibition. They are available in various types, designs and styles. They are inexpensive and easy to install.

If you are taking part in an exhibition and want to promote your company’s product in best way, it is essential to choose the best marketing and advertising strategies. You need to work a lot to make your exhibition display attractive and different from the crowd of other exhibitions. Exhibition stands are the best way of creating a different atmosphere for your exhibition.

Different kinds of exhibition display stands

There are various display stands, which can be used in your exhibition to give it a different and stylish look:

  • Brochure stands are the best way of presenting your product, its services and sales message to the interested buyers. Brochures, fliers and catalogues with eye-catching colors, designs and messages are in great demand now days. Brochure stands are very reasonable and easy to use. Brochure stands are durable as they are made up of metal that withstand the rigors of exhibition.
  • Banner stands are another exhibition stands that are used in various trade shows, exhibitions and displays. Banner stands are compact and light weighted which makes them easy to install. These banner stands are available in various styles and sizes. Graphical banners are also a good way to display the products and services of your company.
  • Hanging displays is another way of attracting the customers even if they are far away from your booth. They are available in various styles and sizes. Some of the very common styles are triangular frame hanging display, circular frame hanging display and quad frame hanging display. Use of hanging displays makes a good impression on the potential customers and attracts them to visit your booth.
  • Conferences, exhibitions and presentations often prefer Pop up Stands as they come in large variety and styles. Pop up stands are dynamic solution for promoting the products of your company. They are light weighted and are available at reasonable cost.
  • Trade show truss systems provide you everything you need in a portable Truss Display, are extremely versatile, innovative, are a great value for your Trade show dollar and extremely quick and simple to set up.

Factors influencing display stands

While choosing an exhibition display stands, various factors are considered such as the size of the exhibition, re-usage of the stands and the budget. Depending on your requirements, you can choose the display stands.

What you need to have a successful exhibition

Higher efforts you make to your exhibition, higher profits you will earn. The way you present your exhibition display stand shows how creative and successful you are as a company owner. Though standing in an exhibition is not at all an easy task, but with your creative imagination, you can make your exhibition successful. You should plan about your exhibition in advance, so that you can make use of quality display stands thereby working on your advertising, marketing, and cataloging the products. This helps makes it easy for the customers to choose the best products in a hassle free way.

Thus, you must have come to know the importance of exhibition display stands and why they need to look attractive. They are the best source of increasing traffic on your booth resulting increased sales. — Fred Jafarzadeh

History of the Infomercial

When television was first getting started many shows were actually created by their sponsors in order to have a medium to promote their products and services. The entertainment value of the show was secondary and the goal of selling a product or service was primary. However, the FCC eventually got involved and placed limits on how much advertising could actually take place within a television show. As a result, sponsors creating programs to advertise their products were done away with. This was not quite an infomercial, but it was certainly the pre-cursor to this type of advertising.

It is believed that the first North American infomercial occurred in the 1970s on XETV based out of San Diego. The program was a one-hour advertisement on Sundays on homes for sale in the local area. The FCC limits of 18 minutes of commercial time during a one-hour show did not apply because it was actually located in Mexico despite broadcasting its programs in English and to an American audience.

Commercial content that was highly regulated in the 1950s and 1960s found a new atmosphere in the 1980s when the Federal Communications Commission eliminated many of the regulations that had previously been in place. In 1984, infomercials truly got their beginning because there was airtime that could be used for their sole purpose. Perhaps the very first true infomercial was for the Ginsu Knife. The format was created by Barry Beecher and Edward Valenti for this very purpose.

Teleshopping, which is similar to the American infomercial, began in 1979 and became very popular in the UK during the 1980s. The television time that is frequently sold for infomercial advertising is sometimes purchased by televangelists to air their messages. Politicians buy these time frames, too.

In the beginning, infomercials most frequently were shown really late at night and very early in the morning as opposed to going off the air. However, over time stations found that airing infomercials at other times of the day could be quite profitable and now it is more common to see an infomercial during the morning, daytime, and even during early prime and prime time. Some stations do nothing more than air infomercial programming 24 hours per day.

One of the largest media buying agencies for any infomercial and DRTV spot is A. Eicoff & Co. of Chicago

Advertising and Effective Promotions

In any economy, the most important aspect of a business is their marketing mix. For small businesses and large corporations alike, it is important to get your name out and build brand equity and awareness. Although everyone is feeling the pressure of limiting expenditures, it is important to remember the old saying, “You have to spend money to make money.” You must spend, but spend wisely. It is important to continue to attend tradeshows, advertise and keep your product or service fresh on consumers’ minds. It is also essential when performing everyday business endeavors, such as sales calls, to keep watch on your brand message and alignment. To strengthen the message of your brand you must employ the basic marketing mix. Advertising and more specifically promotional items are key component to a business’ marketing mix.

Promoting new or existing products will strengthen your brand in addition to boosting sales. Promotions can also be the most cost effective way to maintain and build brand awareness. The key to promoting is to integrate the promotion with the brand identity. For this to be effective, you must work with companies that will offer unique items relevant to your product. Many companies like to leave customers or prospects with something they can keep on their desk or reuse. In this case, personalization is a key factor when choosing these leave-behind items. If it is personalized, they will continue to see your companies name and become more subconsciously familiar and aware of your brand. This familiarity will cause the consumer to become more comfortable with your product, which works in your favor for both a high impact and low impact purchase. An example of the perfect promotion comes from a local Pittsburgh bank. During the opening of 10 new branches they gave new account holders customized paint can coin banks filled with chocolate chip cookies. This was brilliant for a number of reasons. Not only was it a nice gesture for the patrons, but also after the treats are gone it will be reused. This gives the promotion holding power. The idea of a coin bank is also inline with the brand position of the savings bank.

Small inexpensive gestures that set you apart from the competition are going to leave a lasting impression on consumers. Smart marketing and advertising are important to a company’s growth. Low cost advertising tools that integrate your brand identity are the most effective way to continue to compete in any economy.

http://www.applecookies.com
To learn more about these and other economical promotions, visit the above website.

The Current Advertising Market is in Meltdown

With audiences disappearing, TV rates plummeting and clients cutting already slender budgets, perhaps we should be rejoicing that the days of hype and excess are finally over.

The advertising boom of yesteryear will forever be associated with the credit boom. Just as the values of that economic system are now discredited, so to will be the values of the marketing and advertising boom that went with it.

In the future we will no longer have high regard of advertising/marketing that is mass-produced. We will be amazed that Clients, like Guinness, will have paid 15 million pounds for the production of a TV commercial.
Marketing is everything a company does to acquire customers and maintain a relationship with them. Even the small tasks like writing thank-you letters, playing golf with a prospective client, returning calls promptly and meeting with a past client for coffee can be thought of as marketing.

The all-embracing concept of marketing has been lost on a lot of companies, resulting in a poisoning of the well, a deeply ingrained lack of trust that, now has become an enormous obstacle to overcome:

Marketers have spammed, lied, deceived, cluttered and ripped us off for so long, we’re sick of it.

Which means that even if you have a really good reason, no, you can’t call me on the phone. Which means that even if it’s really important, no, I’m not going to read the instructions. Which means that god forbid you try to email me something I didn’t ask for… you’re trashed. It’s so fashionable to be skeptical now that no one believes you if you attempt to do something for the right reasons.

Like all those packaged-up bundles of bad debt, contemporary advertising had no fundamental value. It was misplaced faith in future economic growth that drove up the values of 30-second TV commercials!

The Clients spent so much money on advertising because they believed that they were living in the best of times and that it was all just a one way street – upwards! We all now know all this wasn’t true.

In the years to come this advertising will be seen as the ultimate symbol of the economic fairyland we have been living through in the past five years, an era in which the world lost touch with its sense of value.

These were not masterpieces of advertising, they were the icons of idiocy.My recently published book “Television killed advertising” is now available @ Amazon Books UK. In the book I detail just how much more effective interactive communication is when compared to conventional advertising and details the results of a research investment in excess of £5 m. It also discusses where we went wrong in the past and where we are going to go wrong in the future unless we learn the real meaning of the word “communication.”

Having invested over $10 million in independent research, Paul Ashby is ideally suited to present the case for the widespread use of interactive marketing communication. The research investment has proved conclusively that one exposure to an interactive “event” is far more effective in all key measurements, than traditional advertising. Paul made this investment because has established that Interactive Communication, properly executed, can be totally accountable, unlike all forms of advertising! You can contact Paul at: paul.ashby@yahoo.com

Discover more on http://interactivetelevisionorinteractivetv.blogspot.com

How to Incorporate the Right Marketing Message During a Recession

Fight or flight instincts. Survival of the fittest. When the going gets tough, the tough get going. During rough economic times, there is no doubt that survival instincts kick in. You either have the will to dig your heels in and battle from the trenches or not. Everyone’s fear threshold is different. But those who keep a strong, level-headed focus on the task at hand and don’t panic, usually weather the storm the best.

Just look at the statistics. A McGraw-Hill Research study assessed 600 companies for five years in the 1980s and those companies that either stayed the course or increased their level of advertising spending during the 1981 and 1982 recession had significantly higher sales after the recession ended. Companies that aggressively advertised during the recession had sales more than 250% higher than those who chose not to advertise. Instinct warns us to cut back, slash marketing and advertising budgets and save dollars. However, it’s been proven that continued or increased spending during tough economic times can actually help pull you through and out to the other side positively.

So how do you do it? How do you get over the desire to cut back and actually cut checks instead?

– Acknowledge the situation. Naturally, during a recession, your customers are assessing their budgets as well and are choosing carefully where to spend their money. It’s important to address this fact head on. Acknowledge to your customers that you are aware they have some tough decisions ahead. Then explain to them the benefits of continuing to invest in your services and products.

– Avoid price slashing and doomsday messaging. Negatives like price reductions send off fear signals. There’s a fine line between understanding your customers’ situations and instilling more fear about the times at hand.

– Empower your customers. Create ads, direct mail pieces, blogs, and e-newsletters that empower your customers to take control of their situation and ultimately their destiny. By offering solutions that help them do this, you are creating a positive environment that resonates in a very negative situation.

– Distinguish your value proposition. Communicating to your customers what they will get for their money is just as important, and sometimes more important, than low price points. Even when cash is tight, customers want to know they are getting the best value for their money and many will still be willing to pay a bit more knowing that there is increase value in the products and services you provide.

– Keep your lines of communication open. This means don’t stop marketing and advertising! It is critical to keep your brand top-of-mind with your customers right now so they don’t forget you. If you start to trim corners and cut back, your customers will quickly forget who you are and look elsewhere for what they need. When the recession is finally over, you’ll be left way behind.

– Re-evaluate your marketing mix. If you wrote your marketing plan last summer (or any time before October 2008), you should definitely go back and re-assess where you have allocated your energies. Could you increase your social networking exposure while saving a few dollars in print advertising? Perhaps you could eliminate one direct mail piece and swap it out for an additional three or four e-newsletters? Without drastically cutting your budget, you may be able to shift a few things that will create some savings without reduced exposure to your customers.

Whatever you do, over the next few months as you take stock in your current business situation, don’t take a red pen and slash through each line item in your marketing budget. It’s OK to trim your advertising and marketing budget, but do it with a scalpel, not meat cleaver. Instead, look at creative ways to stay the course and sail through this recession successfully. If you do, chances are, there will be better times ahead.

A dedicated marketing professional, Michelle Kabele has been helping technology companies develop award-winning channel partner programs and marketing strategies for over 10 years. Michelle has worked extensively with small businesses throughout North America.

Michelle has an MBA from the J.L. Kellogg Graduate School of Management (Evanston, Ill.)

Viral Marketing

If you’re not utilizing the power of viral marketing, you may be missing out on a very effective new tool. This form of Internet-based marketing relies on the use of blogs, seemingly amateur Web sites like YouTube, and grassroots media campaigns to generate widespread word of mouth interest and “buzz” for a new product or service. A typical viral marketing campaign aims at generating media coverage via unusual, stories, funny video clips, interactive advertising games, images, and text. These are then passed from user to user at an extremely rapid, exponential (“viral”) pace, often reaching hundreds of thousands or millions of people for far less cost than would be possible using traditional marketing tools.

Due to its ability to generate extremely a high, rapid response rate for a relatively low cost compared to traditional marketing methods such as direct mail, viral marketing is a very popular and powerful medium. The following quick guide will help you create your company’s viral marketing campaign.

Give away products or services

In the world of viral marketing, it’s usually a good idea to give away something for nothing. Most successful viral marketing campaigns provide a free product or service to attract attention. Giveaways could include a complimentary brochure or software program with limited functionality, or a free button or pin. A discount on a service or product may generate interest, but “free” typically accomplishes the task faster and draws more people.

Make it Easy to Pass along Your Message

Like actual viruses, a viral marketing message spreads fast when it’s easy to transmit.

The medium that carries your marketing message must be easy to transfer and replicate.

Use e-mail, a special Web link, or graphic, or provide a free software download. Viral marketing works because it’s so simple and inexpensive, so use a digital format to make copying easy. Also, viral marketing is most effective when the message is short and direct.

Make Sure Your Mail Servers Are Ready

If you’re using e-mail as the core of your viral marketing strategy, you must ensure that your mail servers have enough capacity to handle exponentially larger amounts of traffic.

So it’s a good idea to plan ahead for easy and rapid addition of mail servers. This will put you in a good position to manage the campaign. You must build scalability into your viral model.

Utilize Existing Communication Networks

Most people are social and develop a close circle of friends, family, and associates. A person’s broader network may consist of hundreds or thousands of people, depending upon his or her job or social status. People on the Internet develop networks of relationships, consisting of circles of people with whom they regularly communicate. So it’s important to leverage such things as popular Web sites that draw large volumes of traffic or permission-based e-mail lists that potentially can reach millions of people simultaneously.

Concluding Thoughts

I hope that you enjoyed this article and that it will help you supercharge your marketing effort, leading to increased sales. Thanks for reading!

A dedicated marketing professional, Michelle Kabele has been helping technology companies develop award-winning channel partner programs and marketing strategies for over 10 years. Michelle has worked extensively with small businesses throughout North America.

Michelle has an MBA from the J.L. Kellogg Graduate School of Management (Evanston, Ill.)