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Choosing the Right Digital Media Buyer for Your Business

Posted by Jenna Bruce on Tue, May 26, 2015 @ 01:36 PM

Because digital technologies are constantly evolving, it’s easy for marketers to find themselves overwhelmed and confused when creating and launching their online campaigns. At these times they may wonder if it makes sense to seek professional help from a digital media buyer. The answer is a resounding yes.

Digital media buyers can save you a lot of time and money (and heartaches) and get the biggest return on your investment. Great media buyers will go beyond these benefits and create a digital strategy that meets your needs so you can focus on other important tasks that will help you grow your business.

But with new digital media buyers popping up online every month, how can you be certain you will choose the best one? Below are some tips to help you make the right decision.

Your Digital Media Partner Must Be Willing and Able to Tailor Their Buys

Never hire a media buyer who believes in a one-size-fits-all approach to marketing. Your digital partner must be willing and able to take the time to sit down with you, understand your business, objectives, brand personality, budget, and target audience and tailor a marketing strategy that fits your specific requirements.

Your digital media partner should be as flexible and resourceful as you need them to be and should, without prodding from you, have the analytical wherewithal to keep your campaigns on target.

Do They Have a Proven Track Record?

What you really want at the end of the day is peace of mind. You want to know the company you’re giving your dollars to and putting your trust in has a proven track record of successful campaigns.

Choosing the Right Digital Media Buyer for Your BusinessAt your first meeting your prospective media partner should offer a client list, case studies, testimonials, and references. Don’t take any of these at face value. Put some time into researching and call some of their clients to see if they are satisfied with the work being done on their behalf.

Also, pay special attention to the industries they’ve worked in and the kinds of campaigns they’ve run to ensure they’ll be a good fit. Did they face any particular challenges with past clients that are some you are currently facing? Can they operate on a scale that fits your business? Who exactly will be handling your media buys and what is their particular track record? Do they have real experience or are they a newbie?

Does Their Expertise Fit Your Needs?

Once you’ve established they have a proven track record and their other clients seem very satisfied, you’ll want to get a feel for their exact expertise. They may say they have experience across the board, but chances are they really excel in one or two channels.

Make sure their expertise fits your particular needs. For instance, it doesn’t matter if they excel in pay per click (PPC) if you have no interest using that channel to deliver your message, or if their biggest successes have come from banner ad placement if your budget only allows for search traffic.

Of course, they most likely will (and should) have a great bit of experience across many channels, but you want to make sure your needs and their strengths are aligned. Also, ask if they handle all campaigns in-house or if they outsource any of the work.Choosing the Right Digital Media Buyer for Your Business

Will They Force You into a Long-Term Contract?

You’ll want to test the waters before you sign on the dotted line with any buyer, so make sure your potential partner will work on a project by project basis so you can see if they are a good fit. If they try and lock you into some kind of expensive retainer, walk away. That setup is old school and unnecessary in today’s marketing climate.

Are They Keeping Up with the Latest Tech Innovations?

One of the main reasons you’re seeking help from a professional media buyer is because you simply don’t have the time or wherewithal to keep up with all the fast-paced tech trends and innovations. Your digital media buyer should know the latest tech innovations and have a sense of whether incorporating some of them into your marketing mix would bring genuine benefits to your business.

A great digital media buyer can be one of the biggest assets to your company. If you do your homework and take your time making a decision, you should be able to select a partner who is more than capable of devising strategies that deliver a profitable ROI and keep you two steps ahead of the competition.

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Topics: media buying

How to Design Mobile Banner Ads that Get the Click

Posted by Jenna Bruce on Tue, May 19, 2015 @ 10:32 AM

If you just realized you can no longer forego a mobile marketing strategy and are eager to jump into the mobile pool with both feet, you need to first understand designing ads for mobile is much different than it is for PCs. Mobile banner ads need to make just as big of an impact but do so on a significantly smaller screen.

When designing your ads for mobile, you simply can’t rely on the same design techniques you’ve used in the past for your online campaigns. If you want to get those clicks, you need to optimize your banner ads for a mobile audience.

Here’s how:

Choose Your Colors Wisely

Mobile audiences have even shorter attention spans than online audiences so you want to make sure they see your banner ad as quickly as possible otherwise you may lose them forever. Choosing the right colors is one way to get noticed. Remember, your banner ad is going to be displayed within the context of a How to Design Mobile Banner Ads that Get the Clickwebsite, so the colors should contrast with the website’s colors.

Bold and vivid colors are ideal, making sure to align with your brand’s colors to create brand identity, recognition, and a cohesive execution with other marketing channels. Once you’ve selected the colors for the banner ad itself you’ll need to select the color for the banner’s call-to-action button. The most important thing here is that at a glance, readers need to know it is a separate element of the ad with which they can interact.

Keep Your Text Clean and Simple

Font size and typeface are important in any piece of advertising but are critical in mobile advertising. Fonts need to be unembellished and instantly readable, and they also need to scale well so they look good no matter what size screen a prospect is using to view your ad. As far as word count, less is obviously more with mobile. A good rule of thumb is, if you can get your message across in eight words or less, do it. This way your audience can grasp and retain your message in a single glance.

Include a Clear Call-to-Action

If you want to get that click-through with your mobile banner ad, you’ve got to make sure your call-to-action is clear and succinct. It should tell readers what they can expect when they do click (never trick them) and it should communicate that your ad is essentially offering deeper engagement with your brand.

There are different schools of thought as to the right position of your call-to-action button, but in our experience, you will get more clicks if your button is at the end of your message. This would mean placing it at the far right, at the bottom, or at the bottom-right of your banner ad.

As for the copy on your call-to-action button, make it as short and active as possible. For example, “Save 50%” is much stronger than “To save 50% you can click here.”

How to Design Mobile Banner Ads that Get the Click

 

 

 

 

Imagery Doesn’t Always Work

If you do any amount of online marketing, you’re probably used to using a lot of images in your content marketing strategy. After all, human beings are very visual and often you can sell a prospect with one powerful image.

But marketing on mobile is different and images should be used sparingly. Banner ads that are cluttered or involve complex images take longer for people to scan and make sense of and in general, are far less likely to make a meaningful and instant impression.

Also, at the end of the day what’s most important is that your banner ad displays your brand logo. This way, even if you don’t get the click, you will have still generated brand awareness.

Minimize Your File Size

Though mobile browsing speeds are increasing on an almost daily basis, large files still take a noticeably longer time to load. Keep this in mind when creating your banner ad. To ensure yours will appear in your prospect’s browser sooner rather than later, keep your file size between 10k and 40k.

Mobile marketing is here to stay and the technology is only going to keep evolving over time. By following these tips you can leverage the power of this channel and facilitate two-way communication with customers, promote campaigns at rock bottom prices, and generate higher response rates.

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Image credit: Pixabay

Topics: banner ads

7 Steps to Profitable Print Advertising

Posted by Jenna Bruce on Tue, May 12, 2015 @ 08:42 AM

If you’ve spent any time reading this blog you know we sing the praises of newspaper advertising. We don’t just sing them because we have a lovely voice (though it’s what we’ve been told). We do so because we see on a consistent basis with our own clients how effective newspaper ads are at reaching a target audience, grabbing their attention, and getting them to take action.

If you’ve been considering placing newspaper ads for your business, here are seven simple steps that will help you create profitable print ads.

Step 1: Set Your Budget Carefully7 Steps to Profitable Print Advertising

In order to make a profit you need to be sure you get a solid return on your investment. You’ve also got to make sure you can afford that investment in the first place. Don’t fall into the trap of thinking you have to spend your entire ad budget or at least as much as your competition to get a healthy return.

What your budget should be based on are your goals and projected sales over the coming year. A good rule of thumb is to spend 10% of your gross sales for the year (if you are just starting out and trying to establish yourself) and between 5-7% each year after that.

Step 2: Plan Your Ads in Advance

Never think of advertising as a one-off endeavor. Each ad must fit into the overall storyline of your company. If you create one ad… and then another… and then another… you are apt to change direction with your messaging and confuse your audience.

It’s best to plan and develop your ads six to twelve months in advance so you deliver a consistent brand message that will build customer confidence.

Step 3: Write Your Copy with the Customer in Mind

Successful print advertising means writing copy that speaks directly to your potential customers, and this means focusing on the benefits and not the features of your product or service. In case you’re not clear on the difference between the two:

  • A feature tells people what your product or service does (gets 35 miles per gallon)
  • A benefit tells people how your product or service will make their lives better (you’ll save money on gas so you can put in that pool your kids keep bugging you about)

You’ll also want to define your unique selling proposition and get this point across in your ad, especially in 7 Steps to Profitable Print Advertisingthe headline. What makes you better than the competition? Are you open weekends? Do you provide free wifi? Free estimates?

Don’t be cute with your headline. Be direct and to the point. The goal of your headline is to get people to come into your store.

And finally, make sure each one of your ads has its own specific goal, and then write your copy to ensure it supports that goal. And always, always, always tell the reader what to do with a clear call to action such as, “Stop in this week for our buy one get one special.”

Step 4: Build Audience Recognition through Design

Once you’ve decided on your central message and created copy with your customer in mind it’s time to design your ads so they have a consistent look and feel. By staying consistent with font, ad size, colors, etc., you will build audience recognition.

If you want a great looking ad but are on a tight budget, consider hiring a professional designer to create an ad template which you can tweak for all future ads. This way your ad will look professional and consistent, but you don’t have to pay each time.

A few things to keep in mind when designing your ads:
  • Borders draw the readers’ eye to your ad.
  • Use only one typeface. If you want to add impact here and there, simply use a larger point size. By using too many typefaces your ad will look sloppy and unprofessional.
  • Don’t try and get too much information in by using a type that’s so small no one can read it. Make sure your type size is at least as big as the type used by the newspaper for its editorial content.
  • Leave enough white space so your copy can “breathe.”

Step 5: Choose the Right Newspaper

Depending on where you live, your local town or city may have multiple newspapers such as metro papers, college papers, local papers, weekly papers, etc. all vying for your advertising dollars. So how do you choose the right one?

7 Steps to Profitable Print AdvertisingThe first piece of data you’ll want to take a look at is reach or the number of people in your particular demographic who read that newspaper. Your ad rep will be able to provide you with circulation stats that will be broken down into demographics like gender, age, and income.

You’ll also have to consider price. Determine each paper’s “cost per thousand” or “CPM.” This will tell you how much it’s going to cost you to have your ad viewed by 1,000 in each of the papers you’re considering.

And finally, you’ll want to inquire about any special discounts each paper may offer. For example, some metro papers publish separate zone editions for different areas of the city. So, if you advertise in one particular zone, you may reach a significant share of your readers but at a fraction of what you’d normally pay. Other newspapers may offer decent discounts if you sign a contract or buy a certain amount of ad space per year.

Step 6: Decide on the When and Where

You’ll next need to determine which position in the paper and which day of the week is best for your ad. There are general newspaper advertising consistencies to help you know which day will work for your particular industry. For instance, Wednesdays are typically the day food stores run all their specials. Fridays are generally crowded with entertainment ads. Thursdays are “retail day” and a good time to grab the attention of shoppers who are planning their weekend shopping trips. And on Sundays people lay in their pajamas and leisurely read most sections of the paper.

As far as the position of your ad, since it will most likely be on the smaller side (unless you happen to have a very large marketing budget) finding that sweet spot is key to your success. You can either request “ROP” (run of the paper) or “preferred position.” ROP is less expensive, but it means the newspaper will place your ad wherever they determine it fits. Preferred position means you select exactly where your ad will go.

Unless your budget is incredibly tight, always opt for a preferred position and know that the best place to be is on a right-hand page and above the fold when it comes to print advertising. The main news section is typically your best bet to get the most eyes, but remember who your target audience is and choose the section (entertainment, sports, fashion) that makes the most sense.

Step 7: Test and Tweak

You’ll never get the greatest return if you don’t test and tweak your ads, newspaper, day of the week, and placement. Test your headlines, test your ad size, try to run your ad on a Thursday instead of Friday, take your ad out of the main news section and put it in the entertainment section. Many marketers see testing as such a chore which is the wrong mindset completely. Instead, think of testing as an absolute way to increase your profits. You may think you’re fine with a 5% return, but wouldn’t a 10% return be much better?

Once you have tested and found ad gold, keep that ad running. Remember, in advertising, consistency plus repetition means sales. By the end of the year you will have discovered what we have been saying for many years now: print advertising is a low-cost and highly-effective way to get the biggest returns.

Free eBook: The Benefits of Print Advertising

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Topics: print advertising

5 Reasons Print Media Should Be Part of Your Marketing Mix

Posted by Jenna Bruce on Tue, May 05, 2015 @ 08:33 AM

Unless you’ve been living under a giant pixel lately, you no doubt know the entire world has become increasingly digital in the way we interact and do business. We communicate via text, email, and Skype, read our books on electronic readers, and create ad campaigns that can be accessed through mobile technology. Oh, and we also insist on sharing all the morbidly boring details of our family vacations (including uploading embarrassing photos) through our social media pages.

And yet, despite this obsession with digital technology, print marketing is more alive than ever before.

Here are five reasons why print should be part of your marketing mix:

1. Print Material Triggers Multiple Senses 5 Reasons Print Media Should Be Part of Your Marketing Mix

Admit it: doesn’t much of your world seem plastic? We spend all day touching our mobile phones, computer keyboards, and TV remote controls. It’s nice every once in a while to touch a printed newspaper or magazine. The feel of the paper and glossy pages, the smell of the ink – these sensory experiences are a big part of being human.

Triggering multiple senses adds to the effectiveness of print advertising. Martin Lindstrom, writer of “Brand Sense,” believes brands that appeal to more than three senses will be more successful with their advertising efforts than brands that don’t.

2. Print Creates True Engagement

Much of the content that lives online doesn’t truly engage (this blog post being an obvious exception!). Well, it’s not that it doesn’t engage, it’s that humans don’t engage with it. For many of us, we become impatient when shopping or surfing the web. We feel we don’t have time to stop and read a whole article or blog post, so we merely skim and move on to the next, and we skim that one and move on to the next, etc.

The real key to successful marketing though is to engage your prospect, to entice them and gain their full attention with great content before you present them with your valuable offer. Print is so effective in this regard because people slow down when they have a magazine or newspaper in their hands and actually read, not only the news, but the ads as well. That’s right, in the printed world the ads are as much a part of the reading experience as the editorial content.

3. Your Brain on Paper vs. Your Brain on Screen

5 Reasons Print Media Should Be Part of Your Marketing MixRecent neurological research has shown the human brain processes information differently depending on whether that information is presented in print or on a screen. The studies have uncovered a fact that all marketers should know: readers of print have a longer attention span because print doesn’t offer so many distractions. This is called deep reading – and the act of deep reading creates deep thinking, which means readers can become fully engrossed in the content. And when they then see relevant advertising next to that content they actually think about it as well.

4. Print Drives Users Online

A survey by the Retail Advertising and Marketing Association found that over 47% of consumers are most likely to start an online search after viewing a magazine ad. That is big news because all ads have one goal – to get people to take action and interact more with your brand.

5. Adding Print to the Mix Increases ROI

An effective marketing campaign works best when print is integrated with other digital solutions. In fact, research has shown print’s ability to increase ROI by as much as 240%.  A BrandScience analysis of over 500 European campaigns consistently showed an increase in a campaign’s overall success when print was combined with other channels.

If you haven’t been incorporating print into your marketing mix, it’s most likely because you had no idea of its effectiveness. So now that you do, what are you going to do?

Download this fact sheet and learn 10 reasons why magazines are still an effective advertising channel.

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Topics: print media

4 Easy (and Genius) Ways to Integrate Your Print and Digital Campaigns

Posted by Jenna Bruce on Tue, Apr 28, 2015 @ 07:43 AM

Most of us have been led to believe that print and digital advertising go together like a tin can in a microwave – sparks are going to fly and someone’s gonna get burned. But the truth is these two marketing approaches not only play well together, they enhance each other’s ability to engage the right audience in the right place at the right time.

Here are four easy and, might we say, rather brilliant ways to integrate your print and digital campaigns so you can take advantage of the latest technologies and broaden your market reach.

1. Leverage All That Data

Digital media has created huge amounts of data and you can take advantage of it by mining it for informational gold. It doesn’t matter what channels you choose, without the right data your campaigns will fall flat on their faces.

Good data will help you target your ideal prospects, learn their preferred methods of communication, and offer them relevant and engaging content that leads them through your sales funnel.

2. Slap on Those QR Codes

Although QR code technology has been around for quite some time, there are still many small businesses not integrating it into their print campaigns, which is a really tragic mistake. QR codes can encode 4 Easy (and Genius) Ways to Integrate Your Print and Digital Campaignsinformation that is accessible by various devices, including smartphones, which means they have the ability to entice a majority of your prospects and get them to engage with you online.

TIP: It’s important you don’t assume everyone knows how QR codes work. Make sure to include directions in your print material and get creative as to how you can optimize the look and placement of your codes. You may also want to consider including a personalized URL address in your print material as well for those handful of consumers who don’t yet own the appropriate devices that can access QR codes.

3. Take Advantage of Augmented Reality (AR) Software

Sure, it sounds really sci-fi, but incorporating this new technology into your print campaigns can literally add a whole new dimension to your marketing. Check out this Canon print campaign. When prospects scan an image, it absolutely comes to life. AR is currently in its infancy stage, but if wearable technology, like Google Glass, takes off, and it will, then we can expect to see accelerated growth in this technology and prospects won’t have to use their phones to interact with print ads. They will, in essence, always be online.

4. Try Near Field Communication (NFC)4 Easy (and Genius) Ways to Integrate Your Print and Digital Campaigns

Business cards are tricky – they’re really old school, but you still have to have them. Well now, thanks to Near Field Communication (NFC), your business cards (and other printed material) can have special tags embedded in them that allow smartphones to access extra information about you via digital media. As long as a prospect’s smartphone’s NFC setting is turned on, all they have to do is be within a certain distance from your printed material to gain access to your information.

Print advertising continues to beat many marketers’ expectations and remains an incredible way to target an audience and create brand awareness and loyalty. And, as digital media’s technologies and channels continue to form and evolve, it will remain an unbeatable option for research and campaign tracking, allowing advertisers to monitor campaigns in real time, analyze results and modify strategies and tactics accordingly. But where the magic really happens is when print and digital advertising are combined into one powerful integrated approach that transforms a traditionally one-sided message into a two-way dialogue, building long-term relationships that ultimately lead to repeat business.

Download the CMO's Guide to Integrating Print and Digital Media

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Topics: integrate print and digital

8 Questions to Ask Before Selecting a Digital Advertising Agency

Posted by Jenna Bruce on Tue, Apr 21, 2015 @ 09:33 AM

These days you can’t throw a stone online without hitting a digital advertising agency looking to charge you an arm and a leg in exchange for ho-hum knowledge and service. As more businesses head to the Internet to market themselves and extend their brand reach, more and more agencies crop up claiming to be experts. But most of these “experts’” expertise is debatable.

8 Questions to Ask Before Selecting a Digital Advertising AgencyBefore you sign on any dotted line or hand over your advertising budget, you’ll want to ask the following eight questions to ensure your campaigns are in the right hands. And, as a heads up, if the representative you speak to is “too busy” to answer these questions, take that as your cue to run for the hills.

1. What is their real world experience in your industry?

Many digital ad agencies will try and impress prospective clients by giving them a large number of years they’ve been in business, but it doesn’t matter to you if collectively they have 38 years in digital advertising. What you really want to know is what kind of experience they have in your particular industry. If they don’t have practical experience running digital campaigns in your industry, ask them what other verticals are relevant.

2. Will they audit your account?

You’re not asking for a full-blown audit here, just a light one so they can give you a 30,000 foot perspective on your current campaigns and insights on what they feel is working and what adjustments they would make.

3. What can you expect as far as communication?

You’ll want to know right out of the gate what you can expect when it comes to having your phone calls and emails returned so ask about their response times. If they say they can typically respond within 24 hours, does that work for you or do you realistically know you require a quicker turnaround?

4. Who will actually be handling your account?8 Questions to Ask Before Selecting a Digital Advertising Agency

Don’t assume the person you spoke with will be the one working on your account. In actuality it could be an intern who is doing most of the work. It’s your right to know who will be responsible for your budget and campaigns.

5. Do they guarantee performance?

This one is a trick question, but very important to ask because no ad agency should guarantee they can get your website on page 1 of Google’s search results or get you 10,000 new subscribers. If a prospective agency is making claims like these this is a major red flag. While it’s important to set goals, nothing in life, especially life online, is ever guaranteed.

6. How do they charge for their services?

This is a simple question which requires a simple answer, nothing more. They should be able to say, “We charge X amount of dollars per hour.” Also, for campaigns consisting of paid media, find out if they charge a percentage of spend or flat rates. Should they charge a flat rate, you want to also inquire what happens if you increase your spend, will their management fees increase also?

7. Are they able to provide a list of references?

A reputable agency will be more than happy to provide you with a list of references and you should absolutely follow up with these. Ask current clients how the agency has helped them reach their marketing goals.

8. Who are their ideal clients?

You’ve been seeking answers thus far to gauge whether they’ll be a good fit for you, but you also want to know if they think you’ll be a good fit for them. Find out what types of clients they like to work with and what they think a successful relationship looks like. For instance, if they mostly work with well-established brands and you are a small, local business with not much reach yet, it may not be a good fit.

These questions will hopefully help you choose the right digital advertising agency for your needs. Remember, you’re not selecting a vendor here but a real business partner who will become an extended arm of your company, working with you to meet your objectives and grow your business.

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Topics: digital advertising

5 Steps to Creating a Winning Digital Media Plan for Local Businesses

Posted by Jenna Bruce on Tue, Apr 14, 2015 @ 09:47 AM

Many local business owners still feel overwhelmed, and even a bit fearful, when they decide to take their marketing online. That’s understandable because the Internet is a dizzying landscape that is constantly shifting and evolving. It’s hard for professional digital media buyers to always feel like they have a firm grasp on the latest tools and tactics, so we get why local brick and mortar establishments would just as soon ignore digital campaigns altogether.

But that is simply no longer an option. Even if most of your clientele is local, you need an online presence using specific digital channels in order to be found by prospects and be taken seriously as a local merchant. The good, ne – GREAT news is, once you get past your initial apprehension, you’ll soon see that digital advertising offers an unparalleled precision, efficiency, targeting capabilities and real-time metrics that can help you take your business to the next level.

Even if you’ve never created a digital media plan before, these five steps will ensure you develop one that will reach your target market and give you the best ROI.

STEP 1 - Plan Your Digital Plan5 Steps to Creating a Winning Digital Media Plan for Local Businesses

It’s a little bit like working out before you go to the gym, but a good digital media plan requires sufficient planning, especially if you are new to online ad campaigns. Before you even begin developing your creatives, you’ll want to first ask yourself some important questions:

  1. What are your campaign objectives?
  2. What message are you trying to send and how does it align with your brand?
  3. What is your call to action? (What do you want your audience to do when they see your ads?)
  4. What digital channels are you most interested in trying?
  5. Who is responsible for implementing and monitoring the campaign?


Only when you have answered these initial questions should you move on to the next step.

STEP 2 - Identify Your Target Audience

One of the greatest benefits of digital media is it allows you to hyper-target your campaigns. In order to take full advantage of this you’ve got to really drill down and identify who your target audience is, and be as specific as possible. This will help you start to focus your campaign. But beyond geography, you must understand who your demographic is.

Are you targeting single parents? College kids? Empty nesters? Other small business owners? What are their biggest pain points? What do they need? What keeps them up at night? What are their spending habits? How do they shop? The more you know about your audience, the simpler it will be to create highly-relevant ads that will instantly make an impact with them.

Understand that targeting prospects is a process and one that you will get better at with time. For now, do your best to create a buyer persona and then move on to Step 3.

5 Steps to Creating a Winning Digital Media Plan for Local BusinessesSTEP 3 – Mine That Data

Here’s one thing you most likely don’t know about digital advertising: you can never do too much research – truly. During this step you may feel like you are back in college studying for exams (though let’s try and skip the freshman 15 this time around). Okay, you’re running a small business and living your life so you only have so much time in the day to research the different channels and tactics you will employ for your first campaign. All we can say is, use as much time as you can on this step because the more research you do now and the more data you mine, the better able you’ll be to launch a campaign that is watertight.

A great bit of research you can do is to check out the online campaigns your local competitors are running. What channels are they using? Check out what other business owners might be talking about on LinkedIn. Does anyone make a recommendation for a particular planning tool or ad network? If so, research some more and see if these might add value to your campaign.

Now that you know who your target audience is you want to research and find out where they hang out online. If you’re targeting empty nesters, you may do better placing banner ads on the websites of local newspapers. Then again, if your target audience is college kids, you may do better using social media channels like Instagram.

STEP 4 – Track Your Campaign

If you haven’t already fallen in love with digital media here’s where you will. Digital offers a unique ability to track and monitor campaigns in real-time which is something traditional media cannot do. You’ll be able to get your hands on the kinds of insights that will help you determine if your campaign is a success or not, and if not, where it may have gotten off track.

Some of the metrics you’ll want to look at are:

CPA – The Cost per Acquisition tells you how much each lead or sale cost you.

CPC – Cost per Click is a metric that measures what you pay for each click from a banner ad. Many advertisers like CPC campaigns because they only pay for performance.

Total Visits – You most likely will send all your traffic to your main website, so you’ll want to be able to track how many total visits you get each month and monitor where that traffic is coming from. If you see that you are getting far more traffic from your organic search content than your banner ads, it would make sense to focus your time and budget on generating even more content that will show up in search returns.

Conversions – If your audience converts it means they did something you wanted them to do. Maybe they signed up for your newsletter, purchased something from your website, or downloaded a coupon to bring into your store. Google Analytics will allow you to track just about everything your website visitors do. Make sure to sign up for an account if you haven’t already.

STEP 5 - Adjust and Test5 Steps to Creating a Winning Digital Media Plan for Local Businesses

Now that you have data from the metrics you’re using to track your campaign’s success, use it to make the necessary adjustments. You’ll want to optimize your ad copy and landing pages, which ad networks and channels you use, and, in the case of email marketing, which days and time of day you’re sending your message.

You should always be testing to see if these adjustments create an increase in conversions or not. Yes, this process takes an investment of your time, but it can significantly boost your ROI by focusing your budget on what’s actually working for you.

Like anything you do for the first time, digital media planning can seem like a daunting endeavor, but really, it’s simply a process. And like any process, there are certain fundamental steps you must take to get that process to work for you. Digital media can work for you and give your local business a huge edge over your competition, especially if they haven’t figured out the whole online marketing thing. If you simply follow these five steps, are patient, and understand that you’ll naturally experience setbacks at first, you’ll eventually have a powerful tool at your disposal that can help you reach your overall business objectives.

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Topics: digital media planning

7 Golden Rules of Multimedia Marketing

Posted by Jenna Bruce on Tue, Apr 07, 2015 @ 08:02 AM

Multimedia marketing can build awareness for your brand in a powerful and unique way. Since different segments of your target market may require different marketing approaches and tactics, you may find you have to mix social media with television and print in order to reach as many prospects and customers as possible.

What is Multimedia Marketing?7 Golden Rules of Multimedia Marketing

Multimedia marketing is exactly what the name implies – it is a method of combining different forms of media to reach your audience and build brand recognition. The approach uses traditional media such as radio, newspaper ads, and direct mail, as well as digital channels such as email, mobile, and social media.

Many businesses that have done well using only traditional media are reticent to adopt a multimedia marketing approach that incorporates digital channels, but this is asking for trouble. According to a 2012 Survey by Pew Research Center, 62% of U.S. adults used their smartphone to get information or help them make a purchasing decision in the last month. Specifically, 30% used their smartphone to decide whether to visit a business.

This tells us single channel marketing is a thing of the past. Those businesses that want to stay ahead of the competition and thrive in all market conditions will adopt a multimedia marketing approach. With that in mind, here are seven golden rules to multimedia marketing:

1. Know Your Customers and Prospects

In order to determine which types of media will be needed to reach your entire audience, you’ll first have to take a little time to understand who your target market really is and break your entire audience down into segments. You may find your audience is mostly made up of women, but ¼ are single, ¼ are married with no kids, ¼ are married with kids and ¼ are retired empty nesters. Now, that is nice and neat math but hopefully you understand you’ve got to dig a little and come up with the personalities that make up your audience. Once you know your market segments you can uncover their characteristics to find out how they spend their money and what their preferences are for engaging with media. This will give insight into the best channels to use to connect with them.

2. Know the Right Way to Use Your Media Choices

Now that you have a firm grasp on your market segments and their media preferences, you can start to creatively develop your campaign. It’s not enough to know your audience’s preference; you’ve also got to know each media you’ll be working with. In this way, the various media are like ingredients to a dinner 7 Golden Rules of Multimedia Marketingyou’re preparing for guests. You may know all your guests love pasta, but if you don’t know garlic can be delicate, you may sauté it for too long and burn it, giving your dish a bitter flavor.

If you’ll be using direct mail marketing, you’ll have room for longer headlines and chunkier paragraphs. If you’ll also be using email marketing to reach a segment of your audience, you’ll want to keep the subject lines and message body brief and succinct. And, while a hard sell may be a good fit with this medium and crowd, it’s not a good fit with video and Millennials. Know your ingredients and how best to prepare them.

A final thought: Even if your aim is to market to only one segment, you most likely would benefit from a multimedia approach. Let’s say you’re targeting Baby Boomers and want to advertise in newspapers (a good choice if you want to reach this affluent bunch). You could utilize print ads mixed with digital options also offered by that newspaper publisher like placing a banner ad on their website or via their mobile app.

3. Get the Support of Senior Management

In order for any new business endeavor to succeed it must have the support of upper management; multimedia marketing is no different. Make sure management clearly understands the benefits of this advertising approach.

4. Use a Brand Book

The trick with implementing various media in your campaigns is to ensure your brand stays consistent across all channels and messages. This is why it’s a great idea to employ a brand handbook so everyone can maintain common visual standards for the use of logos, typefaces, colors, etc.

5. Have Clear Communications Objectives

You know your audience and what media they prefer, you know exactly the right way to use that media, you’ve got management on board and you have a brand book so your look stays consistent – great. Now what the heck are you going to say to customers and prospects?

With any marketing campaign, whether you’re using one medium or many, it is imperative your communication objectives are crystal clear in your mind. Make sure all of your messaging adds value to your brand’s image instead of diluting it. Most importantly, what action do you want your audience to take when they see your ads? Do you want them to visit your website for more information? Print a coupon and bring it in to your store? Sign up for a webinar? Once you know what you want your content to do for you, you can actually begin crafting it.

6. Be Customer-Centric7 Golden Rules of Multimedia Marketing

Take a look at your audience segmentation again to identify their needs, emotions, interests, and activities, so you can make sure your content is relevant. Your campaigns will see much more success when you wrap your communications around your customers’ and prospects’ buying process, and create a sequence of messages that move prospects through each stage.

7. Test Test Test Test and Test Again

The biggest most golden rule of multimedia marketing is you have to be committed to constantly testing your campaigns to discover an optimum communications mix. Learn from past campaigns and integrate new tools and channels to see if you can improve your ROI. Multimedia marketing is a marathon, not a sprint.

Many business owners are overwhelmed by the amount of media and channels available to them. But we say, there’s never been a more exciting time to market yourself because this diversity of solutions means you can create campaigns that fit your budget, your audience, and your business objectives.

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Image credit: Alan Cleaver

Topics: multi-channel marketing

7 Benefits of Local Magazine Advertising

Posted by Jenna Bruce on Tue, Mar 31, 2015 @ 11:46 AM

About the only other topic that gets discussed as much as whether or not print is dead is whether or not Elvis is dead. We cannot vouch for the King’s status (although we once swear we saw him at a Chuck E.Cheese in Dayton, Ohio back in ‘89), but we can vouch for the fact that print is very much alive and thriving.

In some ways, print advertising is like a cockroach, only not as filthy or gross-looking. But, you know, when television came onto the scene, everyone cried aloud it would be the death of print. But it wasn’t. And then the Internet arrived and the children and grandchildren of Henny-Penny also said the sky was 7 Benefits of Local Magazine Advertisingfalling and print would be crushed and killed under its weight. But it wasn’t. And it doesn’t look like anything will ever really kill print (hence our disgusting comparison to the indestructible cockroach).

Here’s a perfect example of print’s ability to always bounce back: Back in 2012, Newsweek pulled its print version, which certainly didn’t help stop the rumors that print was dead. But, lo and behold, Newsweek’s new owners brought the print version of the iconic magazine back from the dead. The “catch,” if there was one, was that Newsweek would only be available to subscribers. Which is genius, really. In essence, Newsweek is now a niche magazine, targeted to a very specific market segment.

In the same way, local magazines, which can be found in every state across the country, are also niche magazines, targeting a very specific population, namely, locals. Magazines like Minnesota Monthly, Vermont Living, Bay Living, Colorado Homes & Lifestyles, Louisiana Life, and Carolina Gardener all offer numerous benefits to local advertisers.

1. Target a Dedicated Market

Enthusiasts are always the most dedicated consumers and the best to market to. Besides people who are passionate about certain hobbies, most people are incredibly proud and passionate about where they live. Since most humans have an incredible need to be part of a community, local magazines serve as an important hub where locals learn about their surroundings and events they might like to get involved in. In other words, as a local business, you will get your ad in front of a passionate crowd that is already interested in who you are and what you have to offer.

2. Nothing Beats that Tactile Experience

Sure, many consumers spend a ton of time online chronicling the latest minutiae of their daily lives on their Twitter accounts or uploading their newest selfie onto their Instagram accounts, but when it comes to engaging with websites, most readers only scan a website for 15 seconds before moving on.

People interact much differently with printed magazines. There’s just something about that tactile experience. Magazine readers really take their time and linger when reading print. They also tend to fully interact with the content, including the ads inside.

7 Benefits of Local Magazine Advertising3. Your Ad Will Stand Out

Who stands to sell more tacos and make more money: the taco truck parked downtown amidst a sea of food trucks, or the taco truck that is parked five miles outside of town on the side of the highway surrounded by nothing but hungry travelers? So many advertisers have fallen for the myth that print is dead. Many have migrated their marketing budgets online where they vie for consumer attention is a sea of other digital ads. This is great news because it means your local magazine ad has far less competition and will stand out from the crowd.

4. People Don’t Fear Print Ads

The Internet is full of cybercriminals who use viruses as an attempt to gain access to consumer’s private information. Because of the proliferation of these malware viruses, web surfers have become very wary of clicking on banner ads, even if those ads are enticing. But consumers have nothing to fear by reading your print ad, and this makes them more open to receiving your message.

5. A Longer Shelf Life7 Benefits of Local Magazine Advertising

While digital ads come and go, print ads have staying power. A magazine left in a doctor’s office will be read by countless patients for many months, and your ad can be seen by a majority of them.

6. Brand Recognition

When you advertise in a reputable local magazine, people instantly become familiar with your company. This recognition is then reinforced when they meet you in person, either at your place of business or at a local trade show or charity event. This not only builds brand recognition but, in time, brand loyalty.

7. Credibility

Local magazines are highly valued and respected publications that build a sense of community among local consumers. In fact, many people turn to local publications as a source of advice. Advertisers can greatly benefit from this credibility when their ads are viewed not as ads but as recommendations from a trusted source.

We recommend you take a cue from the new owners of Newsweek who realized print is not dead, but rather a channel that offers true engagement with a targeted audience, and invest some of your marketing dollars into local magazine advertising.

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Image credit: Nick Smith

Topics: local advertising, magazine advertising

The Digital Media Buyer’s Report Card – Does Yours Make the Grade?

Posted by Jenna Bruce on Tue, Mar 24, 2015 @ 08:58 AM

Gartner recently surveyed 315 CMOs about their digital marketing budgets and learned budgets are expected to increase by 8% in 2015. In its worldwide survey of CMOs, IBM found CEOs are increasingly calling upon their CMOs to offer strategic input. The survey further illustrated that the role of CMO comes second only to the CFO in terms of influence they have on the CEO.

IBM’s survey also uncovered some surprising (and not so great) news, which is very few CMOs have made any headway in building a robust digital marketing strategy. For example, according to the survey, only 20% of participants had even set up social media accounts, and an even smaller percentage had implemented methods to integrate company interactions with clients across different channels or installed analytical tools to mine customer data. An overwhelming 82% of CMOs said they felt completely underprepared to deal with the ongoing explosion of data.

All of this is to say in today’s increasingly complex digital marketing landscape, a digital media buyer can be a CMO’s greatest ally. But not all digital media buyers are created equal. Use the following three considerations to determine whether or not your digital media buyer is making the grade.

Are They Asking the Right Questions?The Digital Media Buyer’s Report Card – Does Yours Make the Grade?

By the time you begin working with a media buyer you’ve already had countless discussions with numerous internal team members about everything from strategy to creative to legal issues; however, your media buyer has not been a part of these communications. But, in order for them to get your campaigns up and running, they need to get up to speed and understand the big picture.

In order to do this they should be asking some basic questions such as what is your biggest concern and what technologies are you particularly interested in trying? What methods or channels have you tried in the past that worked and what methods or channels didn’t work?

In other words, your media buyer shouldn’t just write down your ideas and concerns, they should ask what led you to those ideas and concerns. Only by asking rigorous questions and getting the big picture can your media buyer know your true business objectives and help you reach them.

Are They Consistently Testing Across Multiple Marketing Channels?

The digital media landscape is becoming increasingly diverse and consumers have a choice between various communication channels, devices and touchpoints. Because of this fracturing, your digital media buyer should focus on two important things:

1. Continuously testing new opportunities and channels while…

2. Developing multi-channel marketing strategies that create an ever-present brand experience.

Before beginning any project, your media buyer should sit down with you and discuss the importance of having a flexible testing budget in addition to the budget that will fuel the channels and strategies that are already working. If your media buyer isn’t bringing you new ideas and opportunities to explore, they may not be in tune with the complex digital advertising landscape. You may think you’re happy staying put with what has been working for you, but casting a wide net and creating a testing budget are incredibly important to your ROI.

The Digital Media Buyer’s Report Card – Does Yours Make the Grade?Are They Doing Their Homework?

The digital advertising landscape is flooded with the aggressive sales pitches of ad networks that all promise unique targeting capabilities and proprietary data at a minimal cost. Good media buyers see through these potentially-empty promises and do their homework before spending $1 of your advertising budget with any potential partner.

Your media buyer should ask prospective advertising partners what types of businesses they generally work with and what goals they’ve been able to help these companies achieve. They should inquire as to the metrics the partner uses to gauge success, who are their biggest repeat clients, and do they have any sources of historical data available. Your media buyer should do their due diligence to make sure any advertising partner is transparent and equally passionate about helping their clients reach their goals.

Many in the industry predict that CMOs will begin to wear even more hats in 2015 and oversee the entire landscape of brand engagement, increase the quality of creative output, and improve the perceived value of digital interactions with clients and prospects. If you are a CMO and feel you could use the guidance and experience of a digital media buyer, contact us today.

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Image credit: Sebastiaan ter Burg from Utrecht

Topics: digital advertising, media buying

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