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10 Reasons No One's Reading Your Advertisement

Posted by Jenna Bruce on Tue, Jul 19, 2016 @ 01:30 PM

One of the biggest complaints we hear from prospective clients is that they are getting very little return on their print campaigns. Many admit that after running ads in the local newspaper, they get little, if any, phone calls.

“It’s as if no one is seeing our advertisement,” they will say.

They’re seeing it, they’re just ignoring it.

If you’re reading this post, it’s most likely because you know the frustration of spending money on advertisements that underperform and you want to improve your results. Below are the most common mistakes advertisers make when creating ads. Avoid these and see a marked improvement on your response rates.

Your Headline Isn’t Large and Bold

Narrow typefaces typically aren’t enough to grab attention. Make sure the type you use for your headline is wide, bold and easy to read. Readers scan newspapers and it’s your job to get their eyes to stop on your ad.

Your headline doesn't convey your main message or benefitsYour Headline Doesn’t Convey Your Main Message or Benefits

A majority of readers will not read past the headline, which means you cannot depend on the body of your ad to get your main message across. If you do, you’ll end up wasting your ad spend. You’ve got to use your headline to tell your reader up front how your product or service will benefit them. Only when a prospect knows that something’s in it for them will they continue to read your ad to find out more.

Your Ad Doesn’t Show How You’re Different from Competitors

The reader knows that you have something that will benefit them, but why should they choose your product or service over your competition who is also offering benefits? Use the body of your ad to spell out exactly how you are different and BETTER than the competition. These competitive advantages are what inevitably make prospects convert.

Your Ad is Cluttered

No reader is going to want to tackle a mess. If your ad is cluttered, they will skip right over it. Use a simple layout and choose one large image over several smaller ones. Also, don’t mix and match fonts. This comes across as unprofessional.

You Have Copy Across Your Image

Never print words over your image or illustration as these words will simply be too hard to read. By all means have copy above and/or below your artwork, just not on top of it.

Your Ad Didn’t Answer the Prospect’s Questions

While succinct ads can be effective, don’t skimp so much on your ad copy that you leave the prospect with questions. You job is to leave the reader believing that giving you their business is a no-brainer. So, don’t skimp on facts and important information that will help prospects convert.

Your Ad Said a Whole Bunch of Nothing

As I just mentioned, it’s important to give the reader enough information that they feel confident picking up that phone or coming into your store. Having said that, make sure you get to your point quickly. Keep the reader interested by crafting your copy in a way that they learn FAST why your offer is valuable and why they should give you their money. Don’t go on-and on with information that does little to sell your company.

Your Ad Doesn’t Incite Fear of Missing Out on a Great Opportunity

You not only have to clearly state what readers will get from you, you also have to tell them what they’ll lose if they don’t take you up on your offer. This is important. Readers must feel a little fear of missing out on a great opportunity. If you want to add even more power to your ad, incite a little fear. You can do this by running a sale that will only last for X number of days or offering a coupon that expires soon.

Your Ad didn't include a call-to-actionYour Ad Didn’t Include a Call-to-Action

Many advertisers get everything I’ve mentioned so far right. Yet they still don’t see increased sales. Why is that? Their ads didn’t include a strong and clear call-to-action. You’ve got to tell your readers exactly what you want them to do. You simply cannot spend money on an ad and hope that after reading it, your prospect will know what to do. Spell it out for them.

Your Contact Information Wasn’t Easy to Spot

If you want that phone to ring, make sure your phone number is big and bold and easy to read. If you want feet coming in through your door, make sure your physical address is prominent. And if you want visitors to your website or social media pages, make sure those addresses are clear as well.

By not making any of the above 10 mistakes you are sure to capture your prospect’s attention, communicate your marketing message effectively, and increase response to your ads.

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

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Where to Position Your Print Ad for Maximum Exposure

Posted by Jenna Bruce on Tue, Jul 12, 2016 @ 10:30 AM

Just because you’ve spent an innumerable amount of time carefully crafting your advertisement – making sure your headline grabs attention, your typography allows for easy reading, and your images and layout direct your readers’ eye to your call-to-action – doesn’t mean your job is finished.

Choosing where to place your ad is one of the most important decisions that can make or break your overall campaign. In order to get the maximum impact from your ad, you’ll want to consider not only the section of the publication, but also the page side and editorial proximity when negotiating your ad buys. [Keep in mind, even premium positioning, such as the back and inside covers of magazines, which typically come with an added fee, can sometimes be negotiated down if you are a savvy business owner or are working with a professional media buyer.]

Right-Hand PagesClean_Newspaper_Ad.png

When we read, our eyes naturally travel from left to right and top to bottom. When reading a magazine with two pages open in front of you, your eyes with generally end up toward the bottom right side of the page before you turn to the next. Even newspaper readers, who fold their papers to read one page at a time, will usually end up looking at the bottom right-hand side of the page.

Hence, what is called the “anchor” position is the most desirable location for many advertisers and commands top dollar when it comes to negotiating your contract. For those companies with large ad budgets, the expense may well be worth it.

Above the Fold

If you’ve spent anytime advertising online, you’ve come to learn that you always want to get your message ‘above the fold.’ This is because many people don’t bother scrolling down the page before clicking off of it to another one.

This saying originally comes from the world of print. Because newspaper readers often fold pages in half, width-wise, the information appearing “above the fold” is often seen as the most important.

Since the newspaper publishers themselves place their most important editorial content above the fold, many advertisers spend top dollar to get their ads placed here, instead of toward the bottom, right-hand side (as is generally preferred by marketers advertising in magazines).


Magazine CoversMagazine
Covers

A magazine actually has four covers: the front, inside front, the inside back, and the back. The back cover is the most coveted and expensive position in the magazine, followed by the two inside covers. Obviously, those inside covers are really the first and last impressions a magazine reader will have. And, when a magazine is placed (or tossed) on the table or couch, there is a 50/50 chance the back cover will be face up, giving all of those ads (or one really big one) great exposure.

Special Sections

Magazines and newspapers are split into different sections, and each can be capitalized depending on your target audience and your message.

Magazines divide their editorial content and place it into the front of the book, feature well, departments, columns, and the back of the book. Less-professional publications will typically cram most of the ads toward the back of the magazine. You’ve seen these magazines, where the last two or three pages is full of ads. Readers tend to skip over these pages. If at all possible, try and place your ad in the first half of the magazine. This position might come with a premium price, but it may well be worth it, and, depending on the publication, you may be able to negotiate this price down.

Newspapers break up their editorial content into sections like local news, sports, arts, business, lifestyle, etc. Getting your ad into the right section of the paper can make all the difference. But think outside of the box to determine which section is the “right” one.

For instance, if you sell a natural supplement that boosts energy levels, the salesperson might stick that in the health/lifestyle section, but you may want to put it in the sports section instead. After all, if your target audience is baby boomers who want to stay active, many of these people will be perusing the sports section, wishing they had the energy to play their favorite sport.

Ad placement is incredibly important to your campaign. Getting it right can mean the difference between little return on investment and huge gains in revenue. As media buyers, we know the ins and outs of ad placement. We’re also able to negotiate on your behalf and get you the best placement for the absolute best price.

If you need help with your next ad campaign, get in touch with us today.

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

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Your Shortcut to Direct Marketing Success

Posted by Jenna Bruce on Tue, Jul 05, 2016 @ 01:36 PM

Direct mail marketing continues to be one of the most effective ways to influence buyer decision making. Think about it: with so many consumers overloaded with digital information and prospecting, a direct mail campaign is able to stand out from the noise and get leads to visit a webpage, encourage customers to buy online or collect information (including email addresses) from prospects.

Benefits of Direct Marketing

Consumers engage with physical mail

A study by Epsilon found that consumers overwhelmingly prefer direct mail over email marketing.  77% sort through physical mail as soon as they get it. And encouraging data from the U.S. Postal Service shows that 98% of people check their “snail mail daily.

Compare this to the number of people who find checking their email inbox overwhelming and, more often than not, hit “select all” and then “delete.” How many email marketing messages are never read? But with physical mail, you have a much better chance of having your sales piece read.

Direct mail offers a personal touch

In order for a campaign to be effective, and for you to see a return on your investment, your sales piece needs to connect with customers and prospects on a personal level. Except for door-to-door sales, it doesn’t get much more personal than direct mail.

Direct mail is tactile and a physical presence in someone’s home. They open your sales piece and sit down with it at their kitchen table to “listen” to your sales pitch. When opening an email sales letter, there is always that screen separating your business from their reality. There are also a host of digital distractions (notifications going off, banner ads flashing) that may take their focus from your message.

Inherent trust

People are becoming more and more leery of digital communications because of a concern for privacy and security. How many news reports of hackers breaking into networks and phishing scams does it take for someone to become suspicious of attachments and links in emails?

Direct mail is not faced with these same challenges. In fact, the more “attachments” you include and the thicker the envelope, the more interest you elicit from consumers who want to know what’s in there.

Enhanced delivery

Direct mail pieces can be as simple or elaborate as you wish. The same can’t be said for display ads or email or text messaging. Brightly-colored and interesting-shaped envelopes, handwriting font, and real stamps (instead of mass advertising indicia stamps) are a few ways you can send cues to consumers that your piece of mail is worth opening NOW.

Getting Started

Now that you know the benefits of direct mail marketing, you’re most likely eager to get started. Here are some tips to put you on the fast track to success:

Tip #1 – Buy a quality list

In the direct mail game, a quality list is definitely needed to help you win. Because mailing information changes frequently, be sure you purchase your list from a reputable company that doesn’t sell out-of-date lists that result in undelivered mailings and lost revenue.

Tip #2 – Have a single goalHave a single goal

Don’t try to do too many things with your mailing or you’ll end up confusing your prospect. Before mailing anything, be sure your correspondence has a clear goal. Some goals are:

  • Sales generation – Use your mailing to obtain an order, schedule an appointment or reservation, or induce some other action that directly creates revenue.
  • Lead generation - In B2B messaging, a typical lead generation mailing might ask for the reader to make an appointment; in B2C mailings, the goal may be to get someone into a brick-and-mortar store or visit an online store.
  • Customer retention - In addition to presenting special offers (all customers like getting in on a deal), these mailings are focused on customer retention and often include newsletters, updates on loyalty program status, and announcements of exclusive, customer-only buying opportunities or special services.

Tip #3 – Consider postcards

Besides the low cost, another big advantage of sending postcards is that there is no envelope to open – hence – no barrier between your clearly-crafted message and your prospects’ eyeballs.

Tip #4 – Personalize it

Personalizing your direct mail campaign will give you the highest response rates. Variable data printing allows direct mailers to not only insert the recipient’s name in the address and greeting, but also to match text and imagery to the recipient’s purchasing history and/or demographic information.

Tip #5 – Repeat, repeat, repeat

Repetition is key to a successful direct mail campaign. Of course you don’t want to mail so often you annoy people. Generally speaking, mailing once a month is a good rule of thumb. And don’t get discouraged if you don’t get a response after your first, second, or even third mailing. They call it snail mail because slow and steady wins the race. Keep at it and eventually prospects will begin to see your company as credible and worth doing business with.

Measure your successTip #6 – Measure your success

Every campaign, whether digital or offline, must be measurable. Consider using a unique phone number or store coupon for accurate tracking.

If you want to stand out to prospects and get a high response rate for your efforts, you’ve got to do something different than what your competitors are doing. Because everyone and their uncle are sending emails and using Facebook ads, direct mail can be seen as something very special.

 

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

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6 Things to Help You Not Fail at Integrated Marketing

Posted by Jenna Bruce on Tue, Jun 28, 2016 @ 01:00 PM

Today’s marketers have more channels than ever to deliver their brand’s messaging and promote its products and services. Beyond traditional channels like print, OOH and radio, marketer’s may now choose between social media, email marketing, and mobile marketing, to name only a few digital channels.

Luckily, word has gotten out that marketers need not choose between traditional or digital methods, but can create integrated campaigns, choosing the best of both worlds to get the biggest return on their advertising investment.

While there is no one-size-fits-all formula to creating successful integrated marketing campaigns, there are definite ways marketers can maximize viewership.

Understand Who Your Audience Really IsUnderstand Who Your Audience Really Is

Your audience is far more than demographic data. Beyond being an educated male with an income above $50,000 or a mother of children between the ages of five and 16, your audience has attitudes, interest, behaviors, and concerns. By uncovering these, you will be able to identify which channels will best reach your audience.

Ask yourself:

  • Who are my current target customers?
  • What motivates them?
  • How do they like being communicated to?
  • What information will they find useful and relevant?
  • What language will engage them most?

Before developing your strategy, let alone creating your content, you need to know the answers to these questions.

Be Smart in Your Channel Selection

Once you’ve answered the above questions, you’ll be able to uncover which channels are the best to reach your audience. But…

WARNING: Do not try to be everywhere at the same time.

You’ll never be able to manage your campaigns effectively if your message is spread far and wide. It’s not necessary for you to be on every single channel your audience may use. Integration does not require you exhaust yourself or your resources.

Instead, be ruthless in selecting and rejecting channels, only concentrating on a handful of the most effective ones.

Ensure a Consistent Visual Identity

When integrating your campaigns, it’s incredibly important that your visual identity remains consistent across all channels. This means much more than making sure your logo is the same and prominent; it means spending some time to be sure you have an overarching design – that is look and feel. This includes the style of images and graphics used, as well as common colors and fonts. All of your communication, no matter the channel, should appear as if it came from the same company. A person reading an email from you should recognize that you are the company whose ad they’ve seen in their local paper.

Create Relevant Content That May Be Repurposed

In order for any piece of content you create to be effective, it must be relevant to your audience – that is, something that speaks directly to one of their pain points. Your content must also be clear, compelling, and consistent. Don’t use confusing industry jargon, but instead language that is instantly understood by the reader.

In addition, every piece of content you develop, whether it’s a blog post, white paper or infographic, should be able to be repurposed. Developing strong content takes money and time, so be sure you get the most bang for your buck. Break that blog post up and turn it into a series of Tweets, or take that while paper and turn it into a video.

Make Sure All of Your Channels Are Working Together

The goal of all of your content and various channels should be united: to drive traffic to your ultimate target, whether that’s a specific landing page, your blog, a social network like Facebook, or right through your door. This means all of your content on these integrated channels must share a similar call-to-action, telling the reader specifically what you’d like them to do.

Track your campaigns and adjust where necessaryTrack Your Campaigns and Adjust Where Necessary

Perhaps more than any other campaign, an integrated one requires proper analytics and attribution methods be in place to understand if you have achieved your goal. Those brands looking to drive in-store sales with coupons can use a tracking platform that generates unique barcodes with every coupon reader print. This is how major national brands get data from all of their regional retailers. You can use the same method.

If you haven’t begun to leverage the power of integrated campaigns, there’s no better time than right now (because your competitors are most likely already using them).

Request a Free Local Media Analysis for Your Clients!

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4 Ways to Get Sponsored Content Right

Posted by Jenna Bruce on Tue, Jun 21, 2016 @ 02:23 PM

Sponsored content, also known as native advertising or content marketing, is the advertorial of the digital age. Placed in the online versions of local and national newspapers, sponsored ads can help your marketing campaigns achieve their goals.

One of the most successful articles in the New York Times in 2014 was actually a sponsored ad. The article titled, “Women Inmates: Why the Male Model Doesn’t Work” was created by Netflix who was promoting its original series Orange is the New Black. According to Contently, the article was one of the New York Time’s highest rated and ranked right alongside – and even better than – some journalistic content.

The New York Times is not the only major publication to offer this marketing channel. The Washington Post and Wall Street Journal have also jumped on the bandwagon. With more and more publications offering sponsored content to advertisers, the challenge becomes remaining unique and relevant in a sea of marketing noise and offering readers great content that engages and informs.

Here are 4 ways you can be sure to create the right kind of sponsored content.

Write in the style and tone of the publicationWrite in the Style and Tone of the Publication

By now you know that all of your ads, be they traditional ads or sponsored content, must speak to your target audience in a language they understand. But native ads must go beyond this and mimic the style and tone of the editorial content around them.

Once you’ve purchased space for a sponsored article, spend some time reading that publication’s articles to get a feel for the type of content they publish. This is the style and tone readers expect and you’ll need to deliver.

Don’t Sell, Tell a Story

Though it is used to highlight your business, sponsored content is, in fact, content – not a traditional ad. Do not ask for a sale – that is a big no-no in this space and your brand will come off as tacky. Take this opportunity, instead, to inform your reader and offer genuine value and engagement.

Be Transparent

Sponsored articles must be transparent. Never try and trick the audience but make it obvious your brand’s article has been sponsored. If you don’t follow this golden rule, prepare to pay the price. If you were the reader, how would you feel if you believed the piece you were reading was editorial content only to later find out it was paid for?

Contently conducted a study on the trustworthiness of sponsored content. Their findings were that 66% of readers felt they had been tricked by sponsored content at some point. But almost 33% of readers claimed they would be equally apt to click on a sponsored article as they would an editorial piece if it looked interesting.

The takeaway: Be honest and offer great content.

Don’t be Afraid to Spend Money on Producing Your ContentDon't be afraid to spend money on producing your content

Though sponsored content can bring you huge gains, you will find creating an entire article will require more work and resources than your typical static ad. Don’t assume you can just pull and old blog post and use that. Remember, readers will respond to relevant information that offers real value.

In addition to the cost of placing your article, you’ll also want to consider spending some money on producing a winning content piece. You’ll most likely need:

  • A qualified writer (either in-house or outsourced) familiar with journalistic standards.
  • A graphic designer to curate or create engaging images to accompany the article.
  • A project manager to oversee collaboration with the publication.

Go into your sponsored content campaign knowing you’ll need to invest some money upfront and you’re more likely to get a big return at the end.

 

Can sponsored content help you reach your company’s goals? Yes, as long as the content is informative, transparent, and developed with the reader in mind. Sponsored articles are meant to nurture the relationship with your audience. Though sales may not be immediate, readers will eventually convert into loyal customers.

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

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5 Ways to Create Effective Print Ads for Local Businesses

Posted by Jenna Bruce on Tue, Jun 14, 2016 @ 01:00 PM

Understanding how to create effect ads is one of the simplest ways to gain the advantage over your local competition. Whether you’re an established brand or a brand new business, placing ads in newspapers and magazines is a highly-effective way to promote your offer, gain loyal customers, and ultimately generate more revenue.

With this in mind, here are 5 ways you can begin creating effective print ads today.

Have a Clear Message to ShareHave a Clear Message to Share

Your first step to print ad success is to know exactly what information needs to be conveyed in your audience. Who are you targeting? What are their pain points? Why is your offer the solution to their problems? When you have these answers, then, and ONLY then, can you begin creating your ad.

Choose Your Imagery Wisely

You’ll need to do some thinking on whether or not your ad should include a visual and, if so, whether it should be a vector graphic or a photograph. Graphics in vector format are great for fun, entertaining print ads whereas photos are most often used to set a specific tone and put the reader in the right frame of mind for the message. Sometimes images work better when the goal is to show off your product. If you need help determining which visual (and we do recommend your print ad include a visual) to use, look through some local papers and your favorite magazines to get inspiration.

Use Only High-Quality Images

While we’re on the topic of images, it’s important to understand the difference in dots per inch, or DPI, between web design and print design. The standard DPI for web graphics is 72, while print ads require a DPI of 300. It’s very important you only use high-resolution graphics and images when designing your print ads. Equally important is considering the type of media you plan on printing your ads on before you move on to the final renders of any images you wish to use.

Mind your fontMind Your Font

When it comes to typography, font really matters. Many fonts are easy to read in either medium, but a handful of fonts have been specifically designed for print media. Going with one of the following will help your ads avoid ink bleed, especially on absorbent papers.

  • Century Gothic, Verdana, and Helvetica because of their overall versatility.
  • Times New Roman and Garamond over Helvetica thanks to their serifs, according to informal testing by Drew Eric Whitman in his book, Cashvertising.

Remember who your target audience is when choosing a font style. Some readers, like the elderly, may need enlarged or bolded fonts, usually plain ones like Arial or Times New Roman.

When in doubt, it’s always best to go with serif for print ads because it makes for an easy, quick read. Remember, when you put some effort into making your print ad as legible as possible, you greatly expand its reach.

Use a Call to Action

While Coca Cola may be able to afford national TV and radio spots that do little more than keep the brand top-of-mind with consumers, small, local businesses have to be savvy with their ad spend. Print ads are all about getting a direct response from prospects NOT about brand awareness.

Knowing this, you’ve got to use a clear call to action in your ads and tell prospects exactly what you want them to do. If you want to get more feet in the door, provide a coupon and tell prospects to bring it in for a 15% discount. If you want readers to call and speak with a sales rep, tell them that clearly and provide your 1-800 number in big, bold font.

Don’t leave it up to prospects to figure out what they should do – tell them.

 

Local businesses who want to thrive and get a leg up on their competition should definitely consider adding print to their integrated marketing strategy.

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

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4 Ways to Make Your Local Landing Pages Work for You

Posted by Jenna Bruce on Tue, Jun 07, 2016 @ 02:26 PM

Whether you’re a service area business (SAB) or a brick-and-mortar business with one or more locations, local landing pages give you much-needed visibility for local-focused online searches. Creating optimized pages that are relevant to your customers isn’t as complicated as you may think.

Here are 4 ways to make your local landing pages work for you:

Develop Relevant ContentDevelop Relevant Content

You’ll want to sit down and brainstorm what content should go on your pages. First, jot down every product and/or service you offer along with every local area you serve.

Next, write down any tips or advice that may be unique to a particular location. For instance, different requirements based on local laws or codes, weather and terrain, etc. Think of any special offers you may have and what type of satisfaction guarantees you may offer.

While you may know your business better than anyone, your customers know the kind of help they need, so ask your customers, either in person or through a survey, what their needs are and any questions they may have. You may also use a site like AnswerThePublic.com. This site allows you to discover common questions about your business model. For instance, you can type in ‘house painter’ and you’ll get numerous questions people are asking online in your particular area.

Answering these questions in your content will show off your expertise. This will help you craft your message in a way that speaks directly to prospects. Remember, the more relevant your content is to prospects, the more likely they are to give you their business.

Check Out Your Competitors’ Landing Pages

Take a look at your competitors’ landing pages focusing on the quality of the content, usability, usefulness, and keywords being targeted. Chances are, you’ll see plenty of missed optimization opportunities that will allow you to speed pat them.

Get VisualGet visual

A picture is indeed worth 1000 words, so be sure to use visuals in your landing pages. Here you have a few different option:

  • Photographs – Brick-and-mortar establishments can take photos of their store or shop, as well as happy employees ready to serve the community. You can also take images of your products and services.

Service area businesses can take before and after shots of recent completed projects like a landscaping job, exterior paint job, or installation of an HVAC system.

  • Video – Video is a great way to engage prospects and get them to feel what it would be like to do business with you. You could host a how-to video on your landing page, as well as a video of customer testimonials. Do you have any widely recognized customers? Ask if they would leave a video testimonial. For instance, you just laid the floor at one of the cool, trendy restaurants in town – get them to boast about it on camera. These testimonials can set your business apart from other local competition.
  • Maps – Have multiple locations around the city? Include a map on one of your landing pages pinpointing each location with directions, hours of operation, and contact information.
  • Infographics – Infographics are a great way to educate your visitors. Landscapers can create one about the life cycle of certain plants; personal trainers about the “5 Best Exercises for Leg Muscles”; and mechanics could create one with simple car maintenance tips.
  • Menus – This one is self-explanatory. If you’re a restaurant, café, or deli, you’ll definitely want to include your menu on your landing pages.

Be Location Specific

Are there specifics of your business that change from location to location? If so, be sure to describe these changes on your page. An example would be different class schedules for multiple fitness center locations. This content should be highly visible on the page, as it’s highly relevant to city-specific user groups.

When done right, landing pages are a highly-effective way to deliver your message and get local customers to take action. Gone are the days of landing pages being used solely by online businesses; these pages should be a required element in the marketing toolbox of local brick-and-mortar businesses as well.

Free Local Media Analysis - Request Now!

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Effective Frequency for Local Media

Posted by Jenna Bruce on Tue, May 31, 2016 @ 01:32 PM

Advertisers spend millions of dollars every year in an effort to get the right message in front of the right prospects. In an increasingly complicated and fragmented marketing environment, where budgets are tight and competition is stiff, these advertisers are held even more accountable for outcomes.

Enter effective frequency, which Wikipedia defines as “the number of times a person must be exposed to an advertising message before a response is made and before exposure is considered wasteful.”

Effective Frequency is Nothing NewEffective Frequency is Nothing New

Though you may think effective frequency is a modern concept, it’s actually been around since the very beginning of advertising. In his book “Successful Advertising,” written in 1885, Thomas Smith wrote a very tongue-in-cheek checklist of what happens each time a consumer sees an ad.

He started with:

“The 1st time people look at an ad, they don’t see it.
The 2nd time, they don’t notice it.
The 3rd time, they are aware that it is there.”

On down the list he continued:

“The 11th time, they wonder how the company is paying for all these ads.
The 12th time, they start to think that it must be a good product.
The 13th time, they start to feel the product has value.”

And finally:

“The 18th time, they curse their poverty because they can’t buy this terrific product.
The 19th time, they count their money very carefully.
The 20th time prospects see the ad, they buy what it is offering.”

As I mentioned, his list was on the comedic side, but he wasn’t too far off from the reality of consumer behavior. Though advertising was a completely new endeavor back then, savvy marketers like Smith understood a basic advertising truth: “more frequency = more effective.”

Decades later, advertising genius Herbert Krugman became very interested in consumer behavior. He wanted to know how many times consumers needed to see an ad for it to be effective so he could place efficient TV media buys for his clients. The research he conducted is where his famous Theory of Effective Frequency for advertising was born.

Now most advertisers intuitively understand that repetition is the basis of effective messaging. But when you factor in that all of that repetition has a price tag, advertisers need to limit ad frequency to the point where diminishing returns occur.

After his research, Krugman concluded that the optimal number of times a consumer needed to be exposed to an advertisement was three. After three exposures, he concluded, consumers take action.

Many marketers have since debated the subject with some calculating a different magic number of exposures.

What’s the Magic Number for Local Media?

How much exposure do local businesses need to get their desired result? The obvious answer is, there is no magic number. There are simply too many factors at play: the recent complexity of the marketplace, fragmented communication channels, and consumers’ declining attention spans in response to constant advertising bombardment.

Any strategy that approaches frequency without taking all of this into consideration doesn’t stand much of a chance at being effective. What advertisers need to focus on is simply the idea that there must be enough concentration of media in order to influence consumers to buy.

With this in mind, there are a few effective frequency best practices to follow:

Fewer Messages More Often

When we talk about frequency of messages, let’s be clear: stick with a few core brand messages and communicate them more frequently. 100 different messages communicated 25 times is not at all as effective as 1 core message communicated 25 times.

If You're Bored With Your Message - You're Doing it RightIf You’re Bored with Your Message – You’re Doing It Right

Long before your message sinks in with prospects, you will inevitably get bored with it and have the urge to change course. DON’T! Boredom is a good sign - it means you are sticking to your strategy.

Fight the urge to pull the plug on your marketing message prematurely. It can often take years for some messages to connect with consumers, so fight the temptation to create something new and different just for the sake of creating something new and different.

Segment Your Audience

Effective frequency will require you to rethink how you spend your media dollars and begin to segment your audience. What’s more effective: getting your message in front of 50,000 people one time, or 5,000 people five times?

Success comes when you begin to target a portion of your customer base. By doing so you’ll not only be able to use better data and analytics, you’ll also be able to craft the most relevant messaging possible.

 

Effective frequency is not just a theory, it’s a way to communicate your message optimally while at the same time getting the most bang for your advertising buck.

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

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Got Boring Marketing Collateral? Here are 5 Ways to Make it Stand Out

Posted by Jenna Bruce on Tue, May 24, 2016 @ 12:38 PM

It wasn’t that long ago that marketing collateral consisted mainly of facts and figures with a few images and pie charts thrown in for “appeal.” These were of course printed on plain old black and white paper in mass quantities.

Thanks to modern technology, today’s businesses can wow prospects by featuring their products and services in full-color and on high quality paper. Yet, despite these printing advances, many companies still consider their marketing collateral as supplemental and don’t bother to make it stand out. This is a disservice.

Today’s consumers are busy and not at all interested in perusing collateral that offers about as much visual appeal as a scholastic aptitude test. They want to be visually engaged and offered information in bite-size bits.

With this in mind, here are 5 ways you can make your marketing collateral stand out and grab buyers’ attention.

Make It Align with Your Brand Image

Make it align with your brand image.It’s not enough to slap your logo on your collateral and call it a day. You need to make sure it represents your brand both in how it looks and the impression it gives. For starters, collateral should use your brand’s colors and font styles so that consumers have a universal experience across your website, social media pages, magazine ads, and collateral. In other words, they should recognize your brand immediately.

Also, make sure your brand’s personality is the same across all channels. Collateral copy doesn’t have to be dry and boring, so make sure to infuse it with your personality and humanity.

Make it Relevant

Whether it’s marketing collateral, an explainer video, or an email campaign, unless your content is 100% relevant to your audience, they will ignore your message. Be sure you know exactly who your target demographic is and use your collateral to speak to their particular needs.

Also important to know is exactly how you will be using your collateral. Will you be handing out a tri-fold at an event, offering a sell sheet at a client meeting, or sending a brochure through the post? Do you want prospects to discover your brand, visit your website, engage with you on social media, or call your sales representatives? Whatever the goal, you need to make sure your collateral reflects it.

And finally, be sure to include your web address, email, phone number, and social icons so customers can easily contact you.

Use Images

Think of how you yourself take in information. If, in an advertisement, you are offered an image as well as text, your eyes naturally scan the image first and then move on to the words. All human beings do this. We have been programmed in a way to seek out images first and text second. Colorful images will definitely help your collateral stand out.

Depending on what type of collateral you are creating, and the goal you want it to achieve, consider using a variety of images such as photographs of your products, illustrations, stock photos and infographics.

forget basicsForget Basic

Perhaps one of the best and easiest ways for your collateral to stand out is to forget using a basic shape. Who says a brochure HAS to be a boring ol’ rectangle? Consider using die-cutting, a unique design element that can add a creative shape to your collateral. And, contrary to what you may think, this element won’t break your bank. But it will give your printed material major impact. So, next time you’re printing some brochures or business cards, consider making them the shape of your logo or something else that connects with your brand.

Choose the Right Paper

If you watch any cooking shows on the Food Network, you’ve no doubt noticed professional chefs spend almost as much time deciding on what plates they will use to present their dishes as they do on the ingredients and preparation. You’ve got to do the same thing with your collateral. While you may have always played it safe in the past and used cardstock, for instance, this will hardly get anyone’s attention. (What gets your attention more… an appetizer served on a little plate, or one served on a spoon?)

To make your printed collateral special consider using textured or glossy paper. Get creative and maybe use fabric or a dark paper with light text. Anything not-typical, that is still easy to read and engage with, will get you the attention you want.

Collateral does NOT have to be boring. It can actually be something that sets your brand apart and continuously bring in leads and sales.

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

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7 Tips for Effective Flyer Advertising

Posted by Jenna Bruce on Tue, May 17, 2016 @ 12:27 PM

Advertising with flyers is a low-cost marketing option for small, local business. Flyers are a great way to introduce your new business to a specific region or demographic, or promote a new product or service to your local community. For instance, a local deli may target the office worker market through flyer distribution to direct businesses. A new cleaning service may insert flyers into the local newspaper to reach a certain geographic area.

If you’re considering adding flyer advertising to your marketing mix, follow these 7 tip to get the most bang for your buck.

Use a Bold Headline

Flyers aren’t just longer versions of business cards, so don’t use your company name as the headline. Use an attention-grabbing headline that highlights the benefits you’re offering.

Customers are only interested in how you can help them solve a problem. What’s a more effective headline: “Sam’s Lawn Care” or “Let Us Mow Your Lawn So You Can Enjoy Your Summer!”

Be HumanBe Human

Your local customers are itching to give you their business instead of handing over their money to large, faceless companies. Make sure you share the people behind your products and services by including some personal photos. Also, share your company’s story. How and why did you start this business? Did your father start it 33 years ago and the family has been providing quality jewelry sales and repair ever since? Be human.

Use a Call-to Action

By using a bold headline, focusing on the benefits you offer customers, and sharing your personal story and humanity, you’ve laid the groundwork for acquiring a sale. So don’t stop now! Use a call-to-action to tell the customer exactly what you want them to do: pick up the phone, bring in a coupon for 15% off a bag of horse feed, like you on Facebook, etc.

It’s also a great idea to use calls-to-action that prompt repeat or future sales. For instance, using something like, “Book before August 11th and receive a coupon for 10% off your next purchase.” This rewards your new customer when they return to use your services again in the future.

Ask them to pass it onAsk Them to Pass it On

You know the old saying, “Pass it on,” well that very much applies to flyer advertising. Let’s say a local resident sees your flyer in the Sunday paper, but they themselves don’t have a pool so don’t require a pool cleaner. Perhaps they know someone who could use your services. Word of mouth advertising is powerful, so leverage it by including something in your copy that asks the reader to pass on the flyer to someone who may be interested in your product or service.

Use Both Sides

While it is cheaper to only print on one side, it doesn’t cost much more to print on both sides. And, when you think about the fact you’re paying to have your flyer distributed, you might as well get more of your message out there for a slightly higher cost.

Obviously you don’t want your flip side to compete with your main message, so consider using the backside for things like:

  • A comprehensive list of services
  • A map of your exact location
  • Customer testimonials
  • Recent awards

Test

Flyers are no different than any other type of marketing channel when it comes to testing. Always see if you can get an even better return by changing up the headline, body copy and images. Sometimes the smallest changes can bring the biggest results.

Proof Before Submitting Your Order

There’s nothing worse than ordering thousands of flyers and THEN finding a mistake or two. Once your order has been printed, that’s it, there’s no going back and fixing mistakes. Mistakes can undermine all of your advertising efforts, so hire a professional editor if need be to go over your text with a fine-toothed comb.

Flyers are one of the most cost-efficient and effective ways for local businesses to reach their target audience. By following these 7 tips you’ll have a much better chance of ensuring your campaigns increase your reach, leads, and sales.

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

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