What if you stopped advertising?

I’ve often asked this question, and it’s amazing to me the different responses I get. Generally speaking most ‘advertisers’ are unsure what the return on their advertising is, and so they’re unsure what the repercussions would be if they stopped.

I realize it takes a lot of effort to track advertising results and often busy small companies don’t have the resources in place (or so they think) that it takes to properly track campaigns. For all these reasons a ‘tradigital’ campaign makes all the more sense.

Tradigital simply means ‘traditional and digital’ working together. The sweet spot is using your TV, Radio, Newspaper ads etc, to drive traffic to a website or custom landing page. Basically, the ‘call now’ call to action is much less impactful in a plugged-in world, and offering a ‘digital’ response has shown to increase the response rates by 35% or more!

A report on radio campaigns that offer an easy to remember landing page or website, dramatically increase the number of response. Let’s look at the chart below:

So whether or not to stop advertising is not the question you should be asking yourself. Rather, what do you need to do in order for your advertising to evolve, is what you should be asking. The days of using media to ‘call today’ or ‘come in today’ are no longer relevant. Even JC Penney for goodness sakes is now promoting their ‘everyday low price’.

The key is to use digital components to increase responses and custom landing pages to increase conversion rates and build your own audience. As the number of people you Tweet, Facebook, Link-In, Google + and YouTube grows, your influence grows. Now when you take a break from traditional adveritising you still have an opportunity to reach those who most want to hear from you.

So don’t’ stop advertising, just be smart about it and you will know exactly what is working and why.

Build it, Furnish it and Accessorize! The 3 simple steps to an effective website.

The more websites we build the better the flow of the process. I thought that breaking it down to a process similar to building a house would help establish the right frame of mind, and allow you to digest this large undertaking in smaller bite-sized chunks.

1. Built it – This seems obvious enough, but in our experience, most companies tend to group everything into this first step and that’s where the trouble comes. In fact, if this is step 1, we have a step 0.1 which we call wireframing. This step can be compared to a builder receiving a blueprint from the architect. In the wireframe, web designers or consultants sit with the client to ‘dig-deep’ and find out three main questions:

1st – Who will this website represent? A visitor needs to quickly identify with the brand, or they may just as quickly leave the site. 2nd What do you offer that can make my life a little easier or serve one of my needs? This is accomplished with concise content and clear navigation. 3rd, and often the missing link in most sites is – what do I do next? As in what is the visitor’s course of action? A large majority of amateur websites do not offer the proper lead-generating opportunities, which results in very low conversion rates.

2. Furnish it- Now that all the walls are up and its clear what the intentions are for this space it’s time to add the content. Content is to websites what Jelly is to a bean. Not only does it give it depth, it also determines its identity. Generic content, generic site, custom content, exciting, vibrant, interesting, relative site.

3. Accessorize – Even with all the proper thought that went into your wireframe, your build-out, and your content, your site doesn’t go from house to home until you add the accessories. We believe most websites are just too serious and well, BORING! Digital savvy people, who are online, are ready for new themes, and colors and fresh approaches. Don’t be scared to experiment with a few options on each page that bring the site to life, and truly separate you from your competition.

So there you have it, Build It, Furnish It, and Accessorize your way to a great new website, and you’ll see amazing results. For more great ideas or to discuss your next website project, feel free to call or email us.

Do What you Do Best!

I am often told “don’t tell me how to run my business”. In fact, it might as well be the slogan of every small business in America. I absolutely agree, the question is – what business are you in?

If you’re a baker, a mechanic, a doctor, a restaurateur, whatever business you’re in, you’re only a ‘marketer’ if you’re in the marketing and advertising business. My point is, no matter how well you know your business, it does not qualify you to best ‘market’ your business.

Despite the millions of books and articles and even blogs like this one, the most successful businesses seem to have learned the golden rule…’Do What You Do Best!’ Those who don’t learn this, prefer to ‘do their own advertising’, or worse, they hire a marketing agency or rep, only to tell them what they want in their ads.

This is why the majority of newspaper ads look like a cluttered piece of mayhem with no clear call to action or visible headline, etc. Many TV and Radio ads just want to cram as much information as possible, and Billboards look more like graffiti than anything else.

Let me ask you, as a business owner, would you let me go into your business and tell you how to run it? Then why would you want to tell your marketing or advertising agency or media rep how your ads should look or sound like?

Even after many small business owners have failed miserably when it comes to their own marketing efforts, they still insist on calling the shots. Recently a new account tells me, “we lost a lot of money advertising and printing brochures on our last go-around” but he still wants to tell me what his billboard should look like.

I’m not sure if it’s the A type personality or the desire to control everything that hampers the ability of small business owners to let go of this part of their duties. Whatever it is, I can always tell when a local business has ‘made the switch’.

I’m not saying that all marketers get it right every time, but the basics of marketing and advertising are immediately recognizable. The clear message, the simple and creative approach, the clear call to action, and the better ones include the clear next step which should feature a ‘digital’ component such as a landing page, website or social network component.

I’ll summarize with this, if you want to take your business to the next level, you may want to consider a professional marketing agency. To be successful you need to give them as much information on your business as possible, and let them go to work. Otherwise, keep on ‘doing your own ads’ and then blame the media company or the rep when it doesn’t work.

If you’re ready to have this conversation, we would be happy to meet with you. Otherwise, we wish you well as you attempt to learn a new profession while trying to run your business.

“Hey, Traditional Media…If you can’t beat ‘em…join ‘em”

After working 6 years at the largest daily newspaper in Palm Beach County, I have first-hand witness of what technology can do. I actually saw the same thing happen in the recording industry, when I managed the sales and marketing for a record label in New York.

When I started in the music business, vinyl or ‘records’ as it is commonly known, was still the preferred method of choice for DJ’s throughout the world. In less than a 5 year span we saw a huge shift to CD’s, which created a whole new generation of sophisticated CD players and all the sales that came with it. It hence moved to MP3’s and the use of laptops. Now, many world-renowned DJ’s play their entire set using sophisticated Apps that cost only $24.99 on their iPads.

Technology proves again, you either adapt or get out of the way. Well, I’ve added one more option, if you can’t beat the technology, join it. I’m talking specifically to traditional media, such as TV, Radio and Newspapers.

Again, my experience with Newspapers saw Craigslist sweep across the nation, from West Coat to East, slowly destroying the holy grail of newspaper income, the Classifieds! Once Craigslist added your city to its list, you can rest assured that income was going to go away.

THERE’S NO NEED FOR THIS TO HAPPEN:

To me, although there are many complexities, there is one glaring and obvious solution. Traditional media needs to facilitate the ease of access to the internet by providing more content and features of what’s going on online.

For example, if the newspaper created a ‘Found it on Facebook’ section, which could even be ‘advertorial’ or ‘pay for play’, I believe it would be very successful. Why, because it’s much easier to look through a daily paper, and read this section, and find new and wonderful pages on Facebook, that are local and relevant, then it is to go on Facebook and search all over. Beyond that, the feature could alert you to things you may not have ever even thought to search for, and expose new opportunities you would have never found looking online.

I’ve heard rumors of TV commercials being more interactive. Featuring a few buttons you can press on your remote to ‘respond’ to the ad. This technology seems way behind to me, and needs to be fully developed and implemented soon. With all of the internet TV’s already on the market, the world is begging for commercials with coupons you can redeem with the push of your remote, as long as say you’re logged in to your Facebook account – now who’s old fashioned?!?

Radio is not as easy, but bottom line, effective radio ads have proven to drive more targeted traffic to a website than any other form of mass media. Unlike other forms of mass media, you listen to the radio, as you do other things. Vanity URL’s have replaced Vanity phone numbers, and most of the audience prefers to respond to ads online, on their own time. When was the last time you picked up a phone after you heard an ad on the radio?

Yet, most commercials do and say the same thing that they always have, and results are weakening. If traditional media featured the ‘digital world’ in such a way that people would find value in reading, watching and listening to the messages again, mass media would be much more relevant again, and our plugged in world would benefit tremendously.

The quicker you adapt the quicker you grow.

It amazes me as a small business owner myself, why there is so much resistance among the business community in general to grasp the need to evolve.

 

I understand the saying ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’, and that may have worked well, for a long time. However, business in today’s world requires constantly challenging even the successful status quo or some ‘new jack’ will run you off the road.

 

No one can argue that for most Americans the ‘digital’ world is just as real as the ‘traditional’ world and the lines continue to blur. Think about it, most of your office workday, you spend it with a computer (digital) send an email (digital), print something (traditional), text someone (digital) call someone, (tra-digital), and so on.

 

If you need to know something right away you drive down to your local library and pull out the most current encyclopedia. I’m just kidding of course, you probably head over to your counter and open up your yellow pages to look up the phone number to call…

Sorry, I couldn’t resist throwing in a little irony. You Google it, you search online, you go to YouTube, or you use that tiny little search bar on Facebook. So now you find the information you think you’re looking for, go to the website and it’s useless. What a letdown; that visitor will most likely never visit your site again.

 
Yet, most websites are built by friends of friends, or cousins or worse. I understand companies on a shoe-string budget, but cutting corners on what essentially is your 24hour business partner is a very risky way to budget.

 
The same thought process goes behind where you advertise. I believe traditional media remains a very effective medium to promote your message, but that message has to change! The same way you would never run to the library or open the yellow pages, you will most likely not hear a commercial and call immediately, or rush to the store to participate in a sale for items you’re not in the market for.

 
A ‘tradigital’ strategy uses mass-media to drive the audience to respond online. It’s not a revolutionary concept at all, but until now, most advertisers feel like that’s a strategy only for e-commerce enabled companies, and that’s just not true.

 
For example, If I’m selling tires, and I have a great buy 3 get 1 free sale this weekend, at best, only those drivers who need tires will respond. Yet, everyone who drives a car will need tires at some point. Why not offer your audience an opportunity to respond online…’go to www.onefreetire.com and sign up online. We understand you may not need tires now, so you can use the coupon whenever you’re ready!’

 
Imagine that, well why not? Now you have their name and email address, and whenever they’re in the market for tires, you’ll be top of mind, especially if you incorporated your Facebook/Twitter page and keep this prospect in the loop with an email drip campaign. That is ‘tradigital’ – let us show you how to get there and increase the results of your advertising no matter where you choose to advertise.

The Basics of Tradigital Advertising

You probably know by now, if you’re fans of b digital about the term ‘tradigital’. This is the focused effort of using traditional media to drive traffic to a digital domain. That’s all great but how do execute this effectively.

Step 1 – A well-crafted ad – uuuugh! The nemesis of all that social media stands for, the dreaded ‘push’ or ‘outbound’ message that typically is forced on the audience or listener, and is no longer effective. Well, quoting Dan Oday, the most effective form of mass media to drive targeted traffic to a website is radio. However, in order to do that, the ad needs to address one need, and offer solutions the listener will deem valuable. The call to action on this ad is no longer about call, or come in today, it’s about joining ‘us’ at an easy to remember landing page and sign up for your offer or promotion.

Also, in the ad it is important to offer a value of service that does not require the listener to ‘do business’ with you. For example if you’re an air-conditioning company offer a ‘cost-savings calculator on your site that will show how much energy a person can save if they upgrade their unit.

Step 2 – The landing page or vanity URL is a key component that most advertisers are afraid to commit to. The fear is that if you’re sending traffic to a page that is ‘not your website’ or does not brand your name it’s too risky. If your name is McCowsky Air Conditioning and Plumbing, and have the website mccowskyacandplumbing.com, that’s great, but not ‘tradigital’ friendly. Why not ‘supercoolac.com’ or ‘superplumber.com’ These names will be much easier to remember when repeated in the radio ad.

The landing page should have one clear conversion strategy, meaning, what you ‘really want the visitor to do, but as we mentioned earlier other conversion points such as using a helpful tool or accessing a resource should also be made available. Linking to your site is of course part of the strategy, and integrating your social media, facebook, Twitter, Linked-In, YouTube pages is also very important.

Step 3 – What do you do with all this information you collected? Obviously if you offered coupons or a direct ‘sale’ promotion, a small percentage of your audience will actually use it within a relatively short amount of time. Most however, will take more than one exposure to your deal, no matter how great it was, to convert to a customer. This is where your email and ‘inbound’ marketing strategy kick in. If they opted-in for an email, they are requesting information from you, so make sure you provide it and that you provide it on a consistent basis. Different purchases have different buying cycles. Upgrading your AC typically takes longer than using a coupon for a large pizza pie, and keeping your company relevant and ready to serve that customer is a key component of a good email campaign. In addition, keeping active in your social media space keeps your prospect updated on your goods and services, and can be a great way to engage them with a new offer, contest or promotion.
Step 4 – Evaluate and do it again! Google analytics and the ‘Insight’ tool on Facebook will give you in-depth information on all your visitors that you can use to craft your next campaign. In addition, use your Facebook page as your own personal ‘focus group’. This is a great place to ask questions about your company, just be prepared for honest feedback!
If you can get your arms around this tradigital strategy, and understand that ultimately you are building your own audience, which will eventually make you less dependent on media and more self-sufficient, the journey will be quite rewarding!