Pixel Advertising: Fad or Trend?

Pixel  advertising  is an innovative marketing concept introduced by 22-year-old Alex Tew that allows advertisers to buy  advertising  space on a per-pixel cost basis. The more pixels an advertiser buys, the larger their ad and the greater the chance that it will be clicked on. Selling one million pixels at $1 each, Alex’s Million Dollar Homepage has created quite a buzz in the news media and has easily reached its $1 million target.

Thanks to the stunning success of Tew’s Million Dollar Homepage (MDHP), pixel ad sites have mushroomed all over the net. There are even commercial scripts that you can buy that will allow you to set up your own million-dollar homepage in less than 15 minutes. However, this does not mean you’ll make a million dollars…or even a thousand dollars…or even the cost of the script.

Alex Tew’s pixel  advertising  concept was simple, so simple that it eventually led many people to pound their heads on the wall repeating to themselves, “Why didn’t I think of this first?” But his idea was also novel and original. And because of its novelty it commanded a lot of attention (and free publicity) from the media.

Needless to say, no news organization will rush to report about a second million-dollar homepage, let alone one set up in 15 minutes with a purchased script. This is not to say, however, that there is no room in cyberspace for the second or third or even thousandth MDHP. In fact, there are presently at least a thousand MDHP clones hoping to capitalize on the pixel  advertising  craze. Many of them have managed to make a lot of money despite not being the original.

Some people view MDHP clones as little more than shameless imitations trying to leech off Tew’s original concept. This would be the case if his idea, while fun and original, has little use beyond his website.

On the contrary, the clones have proved quite the opposite. Their successes have demonstrated that Tew’s Million Dollar Homepage was worth much more than $1 million. Moreover, they have lend legitimacy to the concept of pixel .

While the original MDHP has made “internet history” (in Tew’s words) by achieving its $1 million goal, it is unlikely to become anything more than just a blip in internet history if the concept is not adopted and refined by others. In fact, most MDHP clones have achieved their riches not by ripping off Tew’s site verbatim, but by borrowing his pixel  advertising  concept and finding creative uses for it.

Far from being just a fad, pixel  advertising  holds an enormous promise as an alternative, cost-effective channel for online  advertising . But the concept is still in its infancy, and to avoid becoming internet history, it has to evolve. An important aspect of this evolution is how limitations inherent in the concept itself and in how pixel  advertising  is being used are addressed.

Perhaps the most obvious argument against pixel  advertising  is that its current use is largely limited to websites with seemingly useless clutters of ads with no content whatsoever. At best these sites offer advertisers little more than a source of non-targeted traffic.

An obvious solution to this is to incorporate pixel  advertising  into content-rich sites. Instead of selling pixel  advertising  exclusively through a site with nothing but a giant grid of picture ads, banner-sized pixel grids may be incorporated into a site with real content. A good example of this application is the relatively small and unobtrusive pixel panel placed on http://www.ezclassifieds.org/. Since most people go to ezClassifieds.org to post and look at ads, the site is an ideal place to offer pixel  advertising  to visitors. Obviously, incorporating pixel ads into content sites involves a lot more work than installing a ready-made script on a new domain. It involves developing a content-rich site and *then* offering pixel ads as an alternative to text links and traditional banner ads.

Used in this way, pixel ads are at the very least superior to traditional banner ads. Unlike traditional banners, a pixel banner may contain ads for several advertisers. Plus, pixel ads are not confined to predetermined shapes and sizes. Many pixel ad scripts will automatically resize images submitted by advertisers, eliminating the need to edit them to conform to the publisher’s requirements. Purchasing pixel ads is usually painless and often fully automated. Since most people have grown accustomed to ignore banner ads, pixel ads are likely to generate higher click-through rates.

Copyright 2006 Oudam Em

The Top Five Secrets To Advertising Strategies – Starting With Your First Ad

Today, most advertising strategies focus on achieving three general goals, as the Small Business Administration indicated in Advertising Your Business:

1) promote awareness of a business and its product or services;

2) stimulate sales directly and “attract competitors’ customers”; and

3) establish or modify a business’ image. In other words, advertising seeks to inform, persuade, and remind the consumer. With these aims in mind, most businesses follow a general process which ties advertising into the other promotional efforts and overall marketing objectives of the business.

An advertising strategy is a campaign developed to communicate ideas about products and services to potential consumers in the hopes of convincing them to buy those products and services. This strategy, when built in a rational and intelligent manner, will reflect other business considerations (overall budget, brand recognition efforts) and objectives (public image enhancement, market share growth) as well. Even though a small business has limited capital and is unable to devote as much money to advertising as a large corporation, it can still develop a highly effective advertising campaign. The key is creative and flexible planning, based on an in-depth knowledge of the target consumer and the avenues that can be utilized to reach that consumer.

STAGES OF ADVERTISING STRATEGY

As a business begins, one of the major goals of advertising must be to generate awareness of the business and its products. Once the business’ reputation is established and its products are positioned within the market, the amount of resources used for advertising will decrease as the consumer develops a kind of loyalty to the product. Ideally, this established and ever-growing consumer base will eventually aid the company in its efforts to carry their advertising message out into the market, both through its purchasing actions and its testimonials on behalf of the product or service.

Essential to this rather abstract process is the development of a “positioning statement, a positioning statement explains how a company’s product (or service) is differentiated from those of key competitors. With this statement, the business owner turns intellectual objectives into concrete plans. In addition, this statement acts as the foundation for the development of a selling proposal, which is composed of the elements that will make up the advertising message’s “copy platform.” This platform delineates the images, copy, and art work that the business owner believes will sell the product.

With these concrete objectives, the following elements of the advertising strategy need to be considered: target audience, product concept, communication media, and advertising message. These elements are at the core of an advertising strategy, and are often referred to as the “creative mix.” Again, what most advertisers stress from the beginning is clear planning and flexibility. And key to these aims is creativity, and the ability to adapt to new market trends. A rigid advertising strategy often leads to a loss of market share. Therefore, the core elements of the advertising strategy need to mix in a way that allows the message to envelope the target consumer, providing ample opportunity for this consumer to become acquainted with the advertising message.

1. TARGET CONSUMER The target consumer is a complex combination of persons. It includes the person who ultimately buys the product, as well as those who decide what product will be bought (but don’t physically buy it), and those who influence product purchases, such as children, spouse, and friends. In order to identify the target consumer, and the forces acting upon any purchasing decision, it is important to define three general criteria in relation to that consumer, as discussed by the Small Business Administration:

1. Demographics-Age, gender, job, income, ethnicity, and hobbies.

2. Behaviors-When considering the consumers’ behavior an advertiser needs to examine the consumers’ awareness of the business and its competition, the type of vendors and services the consumer currently uses, and the types of appeals that are likely to convince the consumer to give the advertiser’s product or service a chance.

3. Needs and Desires-here an advertiser must determine the consumer needs-both in practical terms and in terms of self-image, etc.-and the kind of pitch/message that will convince the consumer that the advertiser’s services or products can fulfill those needs.

2. PRODUCT CONCEPT The product concept grows out of the guidelines established in the “positioning statement.” How the product is positioned within the market will dictate the kind of values the product represents, and thus how the target consumer will receive that product. Therefore, it is important to remember that no product is just itself, but, a “bundle of values” that the consumer needs to be able to identify with. Whether couched in presentations that emphasize sex, humor, romance, science, masculinity, or femininity, the consumer must be able to believe in the product’s representation.

3. COMMUNICATION MEDIA The communication media is the means by which the advertising message is transmitted to the consumer. In addition to marketing objectives and budgetary restraints, the characteristics of the target consumer need to be considered as an advertiser decides what media to use. The types of media categories from which advertisers can choose include the following:

o Print-primarily newspapers (both weekly and daily) and magazines.

o Audio-FM and AM radio.

o Video-Promotional videos, infomercials.

o World Wide Web.

o Direct mail.

o Outdoor advertising-Billboards, advertisements on public transportation (cabs, buses).

After deciding on the medium that is 1) financially in reach, and 2) most likely to reach the target audience, an advertiser needs to schedule the broadcasting of that advertising. The media schedule, as defined by Hills, is “the combination of specific times (for example, by day, week, and month) when advertisements are inserted into media vehicles and delivered to target audiences.”

4. ADVERTISING MESSAGE An advertising message is guided by the “advertising or copy platform,” which is a combination of the marketing objectives, copy, art, and production values. This combination is best realized after the target consumer has been analyzed, the product concept has been established, and the media and vehicles have been chosen. At this point, the advertising message can be directed at a very concrete audience to achieve very specific goals. There are three major areas that an advertiser should consider when endeavoring to develop an effective “advertising platform”:

o What are the product’s unique features?

o How do consumers evaluate the product? What is likely to persuade them to purchase the product?

o How do competitors rank in the eyes of the consumer? Are there any weaknesses in their positions? What are their strengths?

Most business consultants recommend employing an advertising agency to create the art work and write the copy. However, many small businesses don’t have the up-front capital to hire such an agency, and therefore need to create their own advertising pieces. When doing this a business owner needs to follow a few important guidelines.

5. COPY When composing advertising copy it is crucial to remember that the primary aim is to communicate information about the business and its products and services. The “selling proposal” can act as a blueprint here, ensuring that the advertising fits the overall marketing objectives. Many companies utilize a theme or a slogan as the centerpiece of such efforts, emphasizing major attributes of the business’s products or services in the process. While something must be used to animate the theme …care must be taken not to lose the underlying message in the pursuit of memorable advertising.”

When writing the copy, direct language (saying exactly what you mean in a positive, rather than negative manner) has been shown to be the most effective. The theory here is that the less the audience has to interpret, or unravel the message, the easier the message will be to read, understand, and act upon. As Jerry Fisher observed in Entrepreneur, “Two-syllable phrases like ‘free book,’ ‘fast help,’ and ‘lose weight’ are the kind of advertising messages that don’t need to be read to be effective. By that I mean they are so easy for the brain to interpret as a whole thought that they’re ‘read’ in an eye blink rather than as linear verbiage. So for an advertiser trying to get attention in a world awash in advertising images, it makes sense to try this message-in-an-eye-blink route to the public consciousness-be it for a sales slogan or even a product name.”

The copy content needs to be clearly written, following conventional grammatical guidelines. Of course, effective headings allow the reader to get a sense of the advertisement’s central theme without having to read much of the copy. An advertisement that has “50% off” in bold black letters is not just easy to read, but it is also easy to understand.

Online Advertising

 Advertising  has moved much beyond the levels of print and point of contact  advertising . Today one of the world’s most effective  advertising  techniques is online  advertising . With the unparalleled rise in the World Wide Web, not only has it become one of the most targeted sections of  advertising , but at the same time it is also the most cost effective  advertising  process in the world.

Categories of online  advertising  could include such systems as banner ads, email marketing,  advertising  networks, online classified  advertising  and many other techniques. The procedures are simple, they are quick and the results are easily visible.

The greatest benefit of online  advertising  is that it knows no time and space boundaries. It is visible to anyone at anytime and geographical boundaries are no longer applicable. Another great advantage is that they can be targeted to specific groups or a relevant audience. Certain keywords will bring up the advertisements on the requisite pages, thus ensuring that you catch the eyeballs of people who are looking for similar content.

Google, due to its commanding position in the search engine world, is used as the benchmark for all  advertising  techniques and marketing strategies. If a company manages to do well with its Google  advertising , then it is guaranteed that the same techniques will achieve good results on other search engines also.

Google’s AdWords is one of the most basic systems of  advertising  on their search network. The AdWords reach only interested customers, since the ads pop-up only on relevant search pages. You can also reduce  advertising  costs tremendously since these are not very high priced ads. You can also alter them as and when needed, and judging from the evaluation charts you can make informed marketing decisions.

Online  advertising , especially banner  advertising  or ads on various sites should not be judged on the basis of the number of click throughs. An advertisement’s efficacy cannot be calculated according to the instantaneous results it generates. There is a great deal of recall value attached to ads, and similar to print media or TV advertisements, the results normally become evident only later. However what is essential is the placing of the advertisement, since the significance of the page it appears on is what determines the focus of the ad.

Over 13.6 billion searches take place in one month in the US alone. Out of these 9 billion of those searches are on Google. Hence the importance of Google as the main  advertising  destination cannot be underplayed. Every SEM company worth its salt will target Google searches for optimization, and online  advertising  companies will target their ads towards the 9 billion searches every month. Thus Google promotion packages are an inherent segment of every  advertising  strategy. These include not only  advertising  on Google search engines, using the specialized techniques developed by Google, but also  advertising  on other classified advertisement networks and directory listing sites which are ranked high on the search engine lists.

Online  Advertising  includes search engine marketing with Google AdWords, Yahoo SM and Microsoft Adcenter; it also includes buying banners from CPM ad networks as well as social media marketing.

Strategic Advertising for Real Estate Agents

“99% of  advertising  doesn’t sell a thing.”

Sounds like something a local real estate agent might say after paying for yet another ad that didn’t produce, right?

You might be surprised to learn that the quote actually belongs to David Ogilvy, legendary founder of one of the world’s largest and most successful  advertising  agencies.

Yikes – if a man regarded as a giant in the ad industry is so negative about  advertising’s  success rate, how should you feel?

The Bad News is the Good News…

There is an upside here. If so much of the  advertising  in your local market is ineffective, you can gain a significant edge on your competition by having a better local  advertising  strategy than other agents.

 Advertising  vs.  Advertising  Strategy

Notice that I said a better  advertising  STRATEGY, not simply better  advertising . There’s a big difference.

A better ad might get you a few more leads in the short term. A better  advertising  strategy can help you to have a consistent, meaningful message in your  advertising , and will position you to get more business from your local market on an ongoing basis.

With that in mind, here are three tips to help you define your  advertising  strategy, and put it into action:

1) Have a Strategic Objective In Mind BEFORE you Advertise

 Advertising  for the sake of “building awareness” is probably the fastest way to flush your  advertising  dollars away.

Before you even think about buying an ad, you must have a strategic objective in mind – after all, why should you pay for any type of ad unless it helps you to reach your objective.

Here are just a few questions that you might ask yourself before placing an ad to help define what you want your  advertising  strategy to do for you:

– If I could be known for just one thing in my local market, what would it be?

– Which part of the local real estate market is not currently well serviced by other agents? Is there potential in this neighborhood/age group/demographic profile?

– Which part of the local market is emerging and might be a driving force for sales in future years?

– What’s changing in my market right now – immigration, aging population, young families moving in, etc – and how do I capitalize on the change more effectively than my competitors?

If you can answer even some of these questions, you will probably be on your way to identifying the basis for an  advertising  strategy.

For example, you may determine that based on trends and current prices, your market will become increasingly popular with first time homebuyers. As a result, your strategic objective may be to use your  advertising  to become recognized as the local expert in serving first time homebuyers.

2) Have a Specific Objective for Each Ad you Place within your Strategy

With a clear objective as part of your  advertising  strategy, you can now think about investing in ads that support your objective.

Here’s a tip – you can create  advertising  that generates an immediate response while also serving to build your brand in a particular market.

Continuing with the above example, if you ran a series of ads in the local newspaper offering a free “First-Time Homebuyers Report” available from your website, you would actually be running a direct response ad (aimed at getting people to download the report) that also delivered a brand building message (the message being that you are the agent for first time homebuyers to call because you are the expert in that field).

You can measure the success of the ad by looking at the number of downloads from your site while the ad was running – since generating downloads was the specific objective of the ad. If the ads don’t generate enough downloads to justify the cost, pull them or change them. Ads are only valuable if they get you closer to achieving your strategic objective.

3) Be Consistent

All of your  advertising  (online, print, directory, flyers, etc) should be similar in both style and substance within your  advertising  strategy.

Yes, a consistent look and style for your ads is important to help you get recognized in a competitive market.

But even more important is being consistent when it comes to the messages in your ads. You can’t buy a Yellow Pages ad that promotes you as the leader in client service, and then advertise your “low low price” in the local newspaper, and then distribute flyers that try to promote you as the family real estate expert.

Your messages can’t conflict! Again, here’s where an  advertising  strategy comes in. With a strategic objective in mind for your  advertising , you will be able to focus your  advertising  dollars on communicating a single, clear message to potential clients about why they should call you.

An  Advertising  Strategy is Critical to your Success

If Mr. Ogilvy was right, then most of the advertisers out there in your real estate market are getting it wrong. This creates a huge opportunity for you to use an  advertising  strategy to drive business and outdo your competitors.

– Have a Strategic Objective for all of your  Advertising  – Know what you want to say about your business, and who you want to say it to within your local market.

– Have an Objective for Each Ad – Measure each ad’s results against the strategic objective you are trying to achieve – if you don’t, how will you know if the ads were successful or not?

– Be Consistent – Make sure all of your ads are focused on helping you reach your strategic objective by communicating a clear message to the market.

 Advertising  can be a tough game, but so can real estate. And in both cases, those with a well thought out strategy will almost always succeed over those that don’t have a plan.

Before You Advertise Know the Facts! Offline Advertising Vs Online Advertising

What forms of advertising are available to you in Cookeville? Should you advertise your local business Offline or Online? You can better decide that once you understand the buying process a person goes through before spending money on a service or a product. It could take days, even years for a person to go through this process.

Understanding this journey will assist you in determining what advertising methods would work best in spreading your message. We will be discussing reach and estimated cost between traditional offline advertising and Online Pay-Per-Click Advertising.

Typical Consumer Buying Process:

Most all consumers have the same pre-defined actions before buying Anything! Listed below are the purchasing steps people like you and I unknowingly use.

  • Potential customers become aware that they have a need, want or problem
  • They gather information about the product, service or solution that could possibly fix their problem
  • They ask their friends opinions, read customer reviews & consumer reports, watch videos and the list of fact-finding research methods goes on

Only then, when people have gathered this information, do they feel comfortable enough to make a buying decision. The information gathering phase accounts for roughly 95% of a client’s buying process. This leaves only 5% of customers ready to buy at any given time.

What does this have to do with advertising in Cookeville?

Simply put, the buying process is common to all potential customers. When you advertise your business in Cookeville or your Cookeville business to potential clients in Nashville or Knoxville, you must understand who your message will reach and when. Telling the world about your business is only effective if it produces a return on investment, Right? In order to produce result oriented advertising you must inform shoppers and provide buyers with exactly what they are looking for, giving them incentive to buy.

Offline Advertising

Advertisers in Cookeville can choose Offline Advertising in the forms of radio, TV, newspapers or other publications and billboards. Average monthly cost for these services when opting in for minimum exposure can cost you an estimated $20-$35 a day. That translates into an average of $825mo or $9900 a year.

These forms of advertising can take your message into Cookeville alone or to people all around the Upper Cumberland area. Constant exposure can brand your business by “keeping your name out there” in the community to shoppers and attract potential buyers along the way.

How it Works

Essentially it comes down to exposing a message or multiple messages to the people who read a particular paper or publication, use a common street, listen to the radio or watch TV in a predefined area or location. The goal here is to advertise to the majority and hope you catch some buyers along the way. In theory you are only advertising to 5% of the population for direct response.

Now, I understand, you are advertising to everyone in your chosen area, but only five percent of the given population will be ready to buy today. It is important that you position your ads in order to market to the all the potential customers that may come in contact with your advertising.

It is best to provide an informational message that speaks directly to the 95% of people who are gathering information about the products or services you offer. You will also want to provide your viewers or listeners an alternative message driven towards direct sales in order to support the cost of your advertising. This increases your exposure, branding your business by informing shoppers and giving buyers what they are looking for with good reason to complete their buying process.

If you are a small business trying to grow, you will most likely want to keep your message focused towards the 5% of the people on the verge of buying. Dealing with smaller budgets requires you to increase you odds for making sales and money immediately from your advertising. Although it will cost more than the estimate above, it is always a good idea to multiply these messages on different advertising platforms, including online advertising for maximum results.

As with most advertising, the more you spend, the more people your message is exposed to, the more your chances increase for making sales along the way.

Online Advertising

Advertisers in Cookeville who choose Online Advertising can advertise on major Search Engines, Social Media sites and on literally hundreds of thousands of websites relevant to your business. Average monthly cost for professionally managed online advertising when opting in for minimum exposure will cost you an estimated $16 a day or $492mo or $5899 a year.

Don’t have a website? You don’t need one! Unless you intend to build your online presence for sales and branding together, then you will need a professional website. A fully customized, search engine optimized website will run you an estimated $1000. This is the real deal. Add that to the total cost and you are looking at $19 a day or $575mo or $6899 a year.

Online advertising does exactly the same thing as above, plus so much more. You can take your message to Cookeville alone or to people all around the Upper Cumberland area. Online advertising also gives you the ability to advertise your business to multiple cities of choice or entire states across the US. You can even take your business advertising global if you so desire. That’s not all, you can also add multiple ads or advertising messages whenever you want and target your customers with keyword terms so the right message is reaching the appropriate clients.

How it Works

Online advertising is most commonly implemented through one of many pay-per-click (PPC) programs. These programs are offered by the worlds largest search engines or websites. Google by far being the leader, Bing, Yahoo and Facebook are a few you can probably relate too. With the one time account setup, you essentially tell the PPC provider who, when, where and what.

For Example: Let’s say you own a lawn equipment business and you sell weedeaters, lawn mowers and leaf blowers. With pay-per-click you target customers by using targeted keyword searches producing as many ads as needed to get your message(s) out to the right people.

You start by building one ad for lawn mowers that will target anybody searching online for the key terms – JD ZX9 Super Model, zero turn lawn mowers and lawnmower shops near Cookeville. By doing this you target the 5% of buyers who are looking to buy a commercial lawn mower close to Cookeville. Next you place another ad about lawn mowers but this time you target customers looking for service. So your ad reads, “Get Your Lawn Mower Ready for Spring – Blade Sharpening to Full Service – Call Now for More Information.” You set it up so only people searching for the key terms – Lawn mower service, lawn mower blade sharpening and lawn equipment service see it. This ensures your getting the right message to the right people 24 hours a day seven days a week.

The cycle can go on and on to target weedeaters and leaf blowers as well. Before running these ads in what we call ‘Traffic’ you also tell your PPC provider to do a few other things as well. Things like only spend $250 a month or $8.30 a day, only show my ads to people searching for these exact terms and only show my ads to people within a ten mile radius of Cookeville, Crossville and Smithville. You have complete control over your advertising.

Drill down further and place ads like “Bob’s Lawn Shop – Lawn Mowers, Leaf Blowers & Weedeaters – 10% off Service During May” and place these ads on many other relevant websites. For instance, I send you an email asking you if you know of a place that sharpens lawn mower blades. You reply with a no, but because the conversation is relevant, your ad is showing on the side of the page and catches my attention. Or, perhaps, your target customer is looking on Lowe’s website at zero turn mowers and he spots your ad (like a billboard) on the side of the page and clicks through to your website. You could even set it up where they simply click the ad to call your business immediately from there mobile phone because you provide what they need today, locally. This is a great way to catch shoppers nearing their final buying decision through mass marketing. Keep in mind, there are no additional cost.

The Biggest difference with online advertising is you only pay when someone visits your website “Internet Store Front” or takes action from your advertisement. By targeting pre-qualified customers where they live (home, work, cell phone) at exactly the time they are looking for your businesses service, product, location or solution, you increase your chances of return on investment. This takes the “Throw it against the wall and see if it sticks” aspect out as well because you choose who sees your ad, when they see it and what information they get when they take action. The best part is you can collect data by tracking conversions and begin to filter out what doesn’t work and build upon the target markets that are producing revenue for your business.

With 91 million searches a day on Google alone, people are looking for your business by way of the internet. When is the last time you cut out a newspaper ad, pulled over to write down a number or hunted up a phone book?

Advertising Comparison

-Offline Advertising

Pros:

  • Reaches local customers with option of running multiple messages
  • Targets customers throughout the buying process
  • Brands your business image in your selected viewing area

Cons:

  • Short ad exposure times
  • Unable to target any deeper than location or interests
  • No precise way to track results or effectiveness

Estimated Cost: $825 a month

-Online Advertising

Pros:

  • Only pay when someone acts upon your advertising message
  • Target pre-qualified customers with specific ads for sales and branding anywhere in the world
  • Capability of tracking data, optimizing to eliminate non productive advertising thereby producing increased results over time
  • Ability to pause, change or adjust your advertising any time day or night without any contracts

Cons:

  • A professional website is crucial for long term advertisers
  • Complex. Needs professional management for best results
  • Setup takes 2-3 weeks

Estimated Cost: $575 a month

Advertisers from the Middle Tennessee area have some very good choices for advertising there local business to the people of Cookeville. You know your business and hopefully this information will give you better insight on not only how you can advertise your business but also what cost will typically be involved.

Feel free to research this subject more at your own leisure. You can find information through the internet from advertisers websites, additional articles and even forums/blogs describing peoples own unique experience with offline and online advertising.

View pay-per-click packages and pricing

Measuring Advertising Success

A comment usually attributed to Lord Leverhulme went something like, “I know that half of my marketing spend is wasted, but I’m not sure which half.”

Whether they know it or not, this is this situation most companies are in today, I would go further and say 80% of your prospects come from 20% of your marketing but which 20%? Leverhulme didn’t have the advantage of the Internet back in the 20s but you now have some big advantages.

Imagine being able to cut out the wasted spend and do more of what is working! It isn’t difficult it just needs a simple database, better use of your web site and maybe a little planning.

Whether it is paying £20 per month to put a business card in the local store, a yellow pages advert or a piece in the local/national press; you need to know whether it is worth doing. When it comes to more expensive  advertising  then you really need to know how many leads you are getting for your money and how many of those are converting to sales. If you use pay-per-click and have multiple adverts running then maybe we can show you how to track the exact success of each one.

If the ‘Call To Action’ of your  advertising  is to call you then you need to ask where people found your details or have a separate number for each campaign if that is practical for you. You need to do this every time and you need to record the results. Whether on paper or on computer you need to track every prospect:

  • Name
  • Contact details
  • Product/service they are interested in
  • Likely buying timescale
  • Where they heard about you
  • Core product/service bought
  • What additional products/services have they been offer

That is the bare minimum and you will have to add to this for your own business purposes but without this core data you are doomed to continue wasting a large portion of your marketing budget.

If you have a web site then you can get clever. If you don’t have a web site then go get one, now! Seriously, you can have a web site for around £20 plus the time and effort of setting it up. There is enough information freely available to allow you to create a compelling web experience for your customers and get the message out there that you exist. If you know nothing about the internet and can’t afford to get a third party to do the development for you then choose a web host that offers one of the easy web creators.

Every piece of  advertising  you do will have a web site address (URL) on it so that people can go to your web site to find out more about what you have to offer. The vast majority of companies drive people to their home page and in doing so most of them lose valuable information on where the visitor came from. If you are getting links to your site from other places on the internet then it is possible to include information in those links to track where they came from. If you don’t have the knowledge to do this then simple create a new web page for each advert and have people reading that advert go to that unique page.

After a while you can see through your web statistics how many people arrive at these unique pages. An easy way of judging the success rates of all your  advertising . Go back and read that part again and then make a note to do it. This is a free way of measuring marketing success and one of the easiest to implement. It is more than that though, it allows you to customize each landing page to the advert that brought people in, it allows you to test different landing pages to see which ones give the best conversion rates. Never forget the bottom line, you are trying to get people to spend their money in your direction.

Then you can stop paying for the adverts that are not bringing in visitors, adjust the ones where the conversion rates are low and do more like the ones that are working for you.

Most Effective & Inexpensive Form of Advertising

Through the years, inflatable  advertising  has proven to be an extremely efficient and attractive way to draw attention and acquire brand recognition. No longer does your mascot or brand logo need to be restricted to the flat and boring 2D plain of everyday  advertising .

By translating your concept to the inflatable form, your idea immediately gets the 3D puff of life and presence right before your eyes. There are now various companies that help transform the  advertising  idea you have in mind into an inflatable  advertising  campaign, by using high quality materials to make your vision come alive.

Inflatable products are of various kinds, such as Giant Inflatables, Inflatable Golf Packages, Inflatable costumes, Inflatable Tents, Holiday Inflatables, and such like.

For all practical purposes, inflatables are a very efficient and cost effective way to get across your message to your target audience with a solid force that will grab the attention of your potential customer almost immediately. Inflatable  advertising  is used to increase business and obtain a lot more attention, as compared to almost all other kinds of  advertising  methods. What’s more it is quite inexpensive!

 Advertising  inflatable products have come to be an excellent marketing tool for various kinds of venues, whether for high transfer business or for outdoor events. Over the years, innumerable companies have unanimously selected these inflatables as a hugely successful marketing tool.

For example,  advertising  balloons have become a highly cost effective means to get across your ideas. Imagine an idea of yours, or a brand logo imprinted on a giant sized Inflatable Balloon floating slowly in the sky. They can attract attention from miles away! Giant inflatables and  advertising  balloons create an excitement hard to duplicate, and that helps in creating a receptive mind among your customers.

Inflatable balloons, helium blimps and  advertising  inflatables, they come in all kind of different shapes and sizes, in order to attract the attention of customers. Different kinds of  advertising  balloons have the capability of attracting different prospects. Of course, it does depend upon your product too.

All you need to figure out is how to place them at strategic points in order to make your brands stand apart, and have customers completely infatuated by them.

To put it simply, the effectiveness of  advertising  inflatables lies in the statement, ‘when the balloon soars high, the sales dance up higher.’

People keep changing their preferences, and now it seems they are looking for something new. Something special! Inflatable marketing is just the tool of  advertising  to grab onto their attention. Surely, you must have come across various popular sports and caught the glimpse of colorful  advertising  balloons soaring high in the sky above. It is eye catching, largely interesting and incredibly cost effective. Most importantly, it is very innovative.

Inflatable marketing strives at making your product successful and stand out. Be pioneering, be smart and use Inflatable marketing. It is the next best thing among  advertising  solutions.

The Forgotten Advertising Medium

Too often those of us that own an online business forget that there’s another  advertising  medium that business owners have been using for years, with excellent results.

That medium is Newspaper  Advertising . Any online business owner that is not using the option of  advertising  in newspapers is losing potentially thousands of dollars per year.

Although print newspapers have lost some of their readership to online news sources there are still millions of homes in America that still buy newspapers, either by newsstands or home delivery.

Reading the newspaper is a habit for many families because there is something for everybody–sports, comics, crosswords, the food section, classifieds, etc. You can reach certain types of people by placing your ad in different sections of the paper that would appeal to your target market. People expect  advertising  in the newspaper. In fact, many people buy the paper just to read the ads from the supermarket, movies or department stores.

As you look through your newspaper, you’ll notice some businesses that advertise regularly. Observe who they are and how they advertise their products and services. More than likely, their  advertising  investment is working if they continue to place ads.

There are many advantages to  advertising  in the newspaper. From the advertiser’s point-of-view, newspaper  advertising  can be convenient because production changes can be made quickly, if necessary, and you can often insert a new advertisement on short notice. Another advantage is the large variety of ad sizes newspaper  advertising  offers. Even though you may not have a lot of money in your budget, you can still place a series of small ads, without making a sacrifice.

Before placing an ad in your town’s daily newspaper you may want to place a few test ads in the local papers that publish less often and are not as expensive, like the Penny Pincher or American Classifieds (formerly Thrifty Nickel). If you get a good response to your ad in the smaller publications, chances are they will pull well in the larger more well-known papers. If your response is not what you were hoping for try rewriting the ad and placing it again. Since the rate is less expensive for the smaller local publications you should be able to do this as often as needed until you get the response you were expecting.

Some things to know about newspaper  advertising :

1. Newspaper circulation drops on Saturdays and increases on Sundays, which is also the day newspapers are read most thoroughly.

2. Position is important, so specify in what section you want your ad to appear. Sometimes there’s a surcharge for exact position… but don’t be afraid to pay for it if you need it.

3. Request an outside position for ads that have coupons. That makes them easier to cut out.

4. If a newspaper is delivered twice daily (morning/evening), it often offers “combination” rates or discounts for  advertising  in both papers. You usually can reach more readers, so this kind of  advertising  may be something to consider.

Other important tips to remember are:

* Before you advertise, have in mind a definite plan for what it is you want to sell.

* Create short, descriptive copy for your ad. Include prices if applicable. Consider using a copywriter or ask your newspaper for free copy assistance.

* Face your products toward the inside of the ad. If the product you want to use faces right, change your copy layout to the left.

* Be sure to include your company name and logo, address, telephone number and website url in the ad.

* Neat, uncluttered and orderly ads encourage readership. Don’t try to crowd everything you can in the layout. If the newspaper helps you with the layout, be sure to request a proof of the final version so you can approve it or make changes before it is printed.

* Always make sure you are satisfied with what your  advertising  says and how it looks before it goes to print.

Advertising Effectiveness Trends, a Small Survey

In the day to day running of my business, I am discussing marketing strategies with business owners and marketing managers on a daily basis. If you can earn their trust, then they will be very candid with you, especially if you can help them without trying to sell them something.

What resulted from this were some startling admissions that I did not expect. This had me thinking, it can cost an awful lot, especially for the small to medium business owner, to spend money on good market research. So I wondered what the results would look like after a few months if I were to record the marketing success and failure stories after each visit.

I broke this down into respective industries to give more meaning to the results, and also, if available, lend the reasons to these successes and failures. Now I have decided that three month periods will do for data collection as years of research in marketing becomes outdated by the time it is published in the forever increasing and changing monster that is the modern market place. Always ensure research is current and relevant.

Although some of you may want to see raw data, a summary of my finding is all I am going to share in this article sorry! Please take into account that the sample number is in the hundreds, but certainly not in the thousands. The value of this research comes from the honesty of small to medium sized business owners, and the fact they have usually spent the time to talk about these things in detail.

Here are some general trends that I have found;

o Newspaper and radio advertising return on investment continues to decline rapidly.

o The second most effective form of advertising was word of mouth referrals.

o The most effective form tended to be anything unique, e.g. logo and advertisement placement in unexpected places.

o Advertising on product giveaways tends to have a life span of one week, i.e. a company logo on a free pen typically brings in no new revenue one week after it has been given away.

o Advertising discounts were not as effective at getting people through the door as advertising something new.

o Customer loyalty increased with free giveaways, but not so much with advertised discounts.

o Most business owners were dissatisfied with the follow up frequency of advertising sales reps, i.e. after an initial advertising campaign, contact is not made until after an unacceptable length of time.

To bring relevance to these results, one must take into account that this is a small city (about 122,000) and has a large rural support base in outlying areas. These trends show that a need to provide innovative and well maintained advertising service is apparent in this city. Perhaps this is the same elsewhere.

There were some other interesting facts, but these seven findings had the most valid results statistically. If in the future, some other trends become overwhelmingly evident, then I will revise this article.

What Online Advertising Options Are Right for You?

Advertising Options:

Offline advertising has so many outlets that we are all familiar with. It’s easy to understand the differences between TV and Billboard or Newspaper versus magazine, but when you want to advertise in the digital space, the spectrum really gets broad and the pricing differences can be tremendous. I want to explain a few channels where you could digitally advertise that can give you very good returns. The main question is who are you trying to reach?

Who are you trying to reach?

This is a quick one and it’s totally up to you. It is the first question you should ask yourself when thinking about advertising on the Internet. Once you have that figured out, here are a few options that will help you boost your online brand.

Social Media Advertising:

Social media advertising is a great place for small to mid-sized companies to test the waters. Advertising on Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter are an excellent way to target the very specific audience you are looking to reach. Here is a list of reasons social media advertising is a great place to start: It’s inexpensive On some channels you can spend as little as $5.00 per day It’s familiar You are probably amongst the 600 million people on Facebook, so when you advertise there, you know where your ad is going. It’s highly targeted: On LinkedIn you can target company size, position at the company, rank in the company and of course the area where your target lives – the options are vast. It’s Flexible: If you find that you are talking to the wrong audience, you can make real-time changes to your advertising plan and budget. It has great analytics: You may figure out that your target audience is not men ages 34 – 55 but actually women ages 25 – 30. It’s all in the analytics.

Contextual Advertising:

Between Google, Bing and Yahoo!, you have a lot of options. It’s amazing how targeted you can be with your marketing in search. Not all of the services are offered by all of the channels but a mix with all three can get you: Keyword Advertising: This is the basic function of advertising on any of these channels. Advertising using keywords needs a bit of massaging but it is a great way to target those who are looking for exactly what you are selling.

Highly Geo-targeted options:

You want to advertise to only the people in the neighborhood within 10 miles from your storefront? No problem. Behavioral Targeting: Yahoo! offers this function. This means you can target anyone on the Yahoo! channel who are showing certain behaviors online. For example, if the user is looking at shoe stores online, you can slip your ad in front of them for a special on shoes. Retargeting: This form of advertising offers your business a way to target the user after they have visited your website. You enter a piece of code on the page you want to target and serve ads that are built for that page – after they leave your site.

Mobile Advertising:

Typically mobile is a pay-per-click method of advertising with a comparatively good click-through rate. Mobile advertising is often displayed on games for mobile devices but that doesn’t mean that the CEO of a major company doesn’t enjoy the free version of Words with Friends. Mobile advertising offers: Mobility: Advertising on mobile devices gives you an outlet to put your brand in the hand of a broad audience. Great Branding Opportunities: Videos are often displayed on mobile devices and give you the ability to grab someone’s attention that is standing in line or waiting for a train. The message may not be super timely but it’s one more touch point to let them know you are here. A Broad Reach: Because at the moment, it is very expensive to really geotarget to a micro level, mobile is better for those who want a vast area such as the state where your business offices are located. This broad reach is a great option because the prices for such broad targeting are traditionally less expensive.

Overall, there are plenty of options for targeting your audience online – choosing the right one for you is mainly determined by the simple question. Who do you want to reach? Get that answered and market your company where everyone is hanging our.