The Center of the Bull’s-eye – How to create successful advertising campaigns with a limited budget.

There’s a lot to be said about the need for a well-rounded campaign, and fitting in the right amount of push and pull pieces to make a marketing strategy payoff. But oftentimes, with limited dollars, businesses need to have a strategy that best reaches their target market bull’s-eye with one good arrow.

Larger companies have the luxury of creating a balanced media mix. This often includes traditional advertising such as TV, Radio, print and others, along with digital options such as search, banner ads and retargeting. However, limited budgets mean limited options, and ‘testing’ different options can be a very expensive lesson to learn.

 

So how do you advertise effectively on a limited budget? Here are the four points you need to focus on to achieve success.

1. Identify the heavy user – with limited dollars you can’t target everyone, just because ‘everyone’ can benefit from your product. Determining the ‘primary’ user of your products and service will help you tremendously in zeroing in on your target, in order to determine which medium best reaches that audience.

2. Create a strong offer and professional creative – clearly a pivotal piece in the success of your advertising is an offer that engages your audience and moves them to action. It’s not only important to make this offer highly compelling, it’s also very important to make it clear what action you want your audience to take, and how to take it!

3. Do one thing right, before moving on – We can’t stress the importance of a well-rounded campaign, using the proper media mix for maximum impact. However, when working with a smaller budget you can be successful with just one medium. When Ironhorse country club was looking to add 25 new members, we moved their already saturated budget from newspaper to broadcast TV, and created two back-to-back :15 second commercials to air in The Fed-Ex Cup and The Ryder Cup. There was no other advertising supporting their new membership offer. In two months Ironhorse signed up 92 new members! This was the most positive result of any advertising campaign in their history.

4. A whole lot of this, and whole lot of that, gets you a whole lot of nothing. In advertising, we ‘professionals’ like to throw around the words ‘reach and frequency’ a lot, but alas, it’s true. If you don’t put enough into any medium to reach a large percentage of your target audience, and reach them at least 4 times or more, you might as well throw the money away. ‘Testing’ a media is OK; as long as you give the test the support it needs to satisfy the tried and true ‘reach and frequency’ formula.

If you need help creating advertising plan with a limited budget, please call or email us for a free consultation. While there is still no ‘guarantee’ in advertising, there is a typically a pretty good chance that if you don’t advertise, you will not grow or compete to the degree of your advertising competition.

The five questions to answer when deciding to hire an ad agency.

Nothing can quite compare to the excitement of a ‘small business’ that’s finding its legs and starting to show a real growth pattern. With it however, come a multitude of new opportunities and decisions for those at the helm.  One of those key decisions is when to hire an advertising and marketing agency. These questions and considerations can help you make that decision with confidence.

1. Are you overwhelmed with other projects? Let’s face it, every business owner wears many different hats, but when they monopolize your time to the point where you are not able to properly plan and manage your marketing plan, its time!

2. Are you getting a ton of calls from media reps? Have you noticed the only time media reps call is when you don’t need them? Media reps only put you on their radar when they know a company has the wherewithal to advertise. If you can’t keep up with the calls, and decide who to work with, its time!

3. Are you stuck in a creative rut? Even in good times, innovation and creativity need to remain in the forefront. Nothing can shoot down momentum faster than an ad or campaign that has boring or ineffective copy, or worse ties to be something it isn’t. If you’re not sure of your creative direction, its time!

4. Are you wondering what media is best for your business? TV, Radio, Billboards, Magazine, newspapers, and dare I say it, Yellow Pages; not to mention all of the digital options, where is the best place to invest your advertising budget. This is what we do best, and if you need expert advice and non-biased information, its time!

5. Are you wondering what advertising is working for you and what isn’t?  It’s been said ‘half of my advertising is working, I just don’t know which half’.  Well, imagine if you did!  We offer a ‘Free Media Audit’ which will clearly spell out where your ROI is positive and where you can reallocate some of your ad budget. If you don’t know where your ROI is coming from, its time!

Other points you may consider when deciding if it’s time to hire an ad agency include:

• A new perspective – a sounding board if you will.
• Expertise in marketing and advertising – you are too close to the forest to see the trees.
• Reduce costly mistakes – we’ve been there before, and will steer you away from it.
• A brand refresh – maybe all you need is to shake things up a bit.
• The creative eye – everyone can be creative, we get paid to do it.

If you find yourself somewhere in the middle of these points, it doesn’t cost you anything to pick up the phone and call us, or send an email to discuss your particular situation. Whether it’s just a free consultation, or our free media audit, let us help you gain a perspective of where you are, so you can help us gain a perspective of where you want to go, and we can show you how to get there!
John Garcia – Baldrica Advertising and Marketing Group (BAM) b digital agency, inc. 561-683-0404 jgarcia@bdigitalagency.com

5 Reasons why your coupons aren’t working (and why you still keep doing them!)

It seems logical that since ‘everybody’ wants to save money, offering a coupon can entice someone to ‘give you a try’, which turns into increased sales, and new customers.  The age old tradition of coupons seems to be bigger than ever. With the likes of Living Social and Groupon, coupons have reached an all-time high, yet there are many mixed results, let’s review some of the most common reasons why many coupon efforts fail, and how you can make improvements.

1. Nobody knows you – When you offer a coupon and you’re a relatively new company, offering a relatively new product or service, ‘couponing’ your way into the mainstream is not the most effective strategy. First, the perception of a coupon from a company that no one has ever heard of is that the product or service isn’t selling, so they had to discount it. Now you’re giving away your goods because nobody wants them, bad way to start!

2. No perceived value – Picking up on the ‘couponing’ mentality, if the consumer has no perceived value of your offer, it means nothing to them. This effect can come from the first point that nobody knows you, hence they don’t realize the value of your product or service, or your ‘15% Off’ does not entice them because they don’t know what the real savings is.

3. Competing on Price – Everybody wants a good deal, but when you create a business model based on your coupons you are sliding down a very slippery slope. Now you are training your customers (who may be willing to pay full price for the great value, service that you provide), to wait until you have an offer to come in.

4. Promoting ‘cheap’ instead of rewarding ‘loyalty’ – As coupons have the general effect of rewarding the ‘cheap’ to bring in new customers, it often does not create the loyalty you’re looking for. I believe all discounts should be tied into a loyalty program, rewarding consumers for being consistent patrons. This also builds a sense of partnership with your consumers as, they feel appreciated since not everyone who comes in with a coupon can get the same reward they do – hence they earned it.

5. No data – You print a coupon, you get the 1 or 2% conversion, bring in a bunch of customers who just wanted the deal, use the coupon, save the money, cut into your margins (many times coupons are loss leaders), and you never see them again until the next coupon. The worst part of this is that you don’t even know who these people are. You did not collect an email, ‘Liked’ us on Facebook, etc. All coupon offers should have an opportunity to be redeemed online, on your website of landing page, with a simple name and email opt-in so that you can build your database and not start from scratch every time you publish a new coupon.

These are the main reasons why your crazy cycle of coupon marketing is not working, yet you keep doing it.  On the occasional chance that it does work, it does not build up momentum from one offer to the next.

Let us show you a ‘Tradigital’ strategy can increase the results of your couponing by 35% or more, while building your own audience of engaged consumers on your website, email marketing and social media channels.

Are your business practices in line with your consumers buying habits?

We recently launched a new product to help companies in the Air Conditioning business generate more leads. The program is simply called BestACQuote.com and it’s based on the same premise that has made Lending Tree and other similar sites so successful.

 

For the most part, if you give consumers the opportunity to gather all of their information in one place, and that place delivers quality and trusted options, that will often be the preferable choice. For example when you look for the price on a plane ticket for an upcoming trip – do you visit each individual airline site, or do you go to Expedia or Kayak or a similar site?

This business model on the internet continues to grow in popularity as the sites become better at delivering valuable results in less time than it would take you to do the research. These results are very often competing on price, as it allows the consumer to ‘shop’ more easily.

I understand that most businesses don’t want to compete on price. Everyone would prefer to deal with consumers who are interested in the best ‘value’ for their money and bottom line pricing is not the ultimate deciding factor. However, reality in the marketplace weighs heavily in favor of the consumer shopping first for the best price, then looking at the value.

It was somewhat surprising to me at a recent air conditioning trade show, how many AC companies did not want to compete on ‘price’. They often stated that their not looking for that ‘type’ of customer, and that they were not the ‘cheapest’ guys out there. Really?

Value is all about comparing the price of something to what you’re getting in return. If I pay for one AC system that last me 5 years and pay $2000 or buy 1 AC that last me 10 years but pay $3,000, which one is the cheapest?

All that aside (basic best-selling practices), the bottom line is that the consumer does prefer to make decisions based on price, and if you’re not able to enter into that arena, how are you going to be able to enter into the value conversation?

I was in the music industry many years ago, when we would actually sell records. Records are these vinyl discs that would spin in a turntable or record-player and music would come out the speakers! I say this sarcastically because when things went digital (MP3 if you will) in the music biz, everybody pushed back, and everybody wanted to sue everybody.

Well, now iTunes is just a way of life…I mean, when was the last time you visited a record store? The point is when you don’t embrace technology, and learn how to leverage it and make it work for you, it will run you over and run you right out of business.

Get comfortable with www.bestacquote.com and www.lendingtree.com and www.expedia.com and any other site that comes along and delivers the needs of the consumer in the fastest and most reliable manner, because that is how business will be conducted online for many years to come.

The Five Keys to Increase Lead Generation.

The ultimate goal of a direct response advertising campaign is to generate new leads, and close more deals. As marketers we look at many different angles and forms of persuasion as possible, but business owner look at one metric: ROI. If you’re putting a direct response campaign together, these five steps are crucial to the success of your campaign:

#1 The Offer: In any direct response campaign the offer has to be appealing enough to capture the interest of the audience in a 2 to 3 second window. This doesn’t mean you have to include the word ‘Free’ or ‘Buy One Get One’ or ‘half off’, etc – it means the offer needs to be clearly understood and offer value beyond that of the competition.

#2 The Delivery System: Whether you use traditional media such as TV, Radio or Print, etc making sure that you have a ‘tradigital’ approach is key in today’s marketplace. Tradigital is using traditional media to drive digital for maximum results. A very small percentage of consumers choose to ‘call’ as their primary response to an ad. An overwhelming majority will prefer to email, text or visit a website, which is why you need to clearly communicate the preferred response option in your ad. Our best advice is to use a landing page online or ‘vanity URL’, that speaks clearly to the offer and only asks for name and email opt-in to redeem it.

 

#3 The Process: Far too often the creative overpowers the call to action, or the offer is cluttered in other messages and agendas. Keep the message to one clear offer, and just as important, one clear way to redeem it or take the next step in the process. If the ‘call to action’ is not clear, you may have a good offer, or a clever message that only a small percentage of people actually act upon.

#4 The Response: If the consumer does not immediately get a reply when asking for information or redeeming an offer, you can forget about making that sale. There are too many competitors and too many other opportunities and options for that consumer to wait for you. Whenever you can add a ‘personal touch’ to that response, it only adds value and increases conversion rates.

#5 The Follow Up: So the fact of the matter, not every inquiry will result in a sale – which is why we have email marketing. Don’t think of 5 new customers out of 500 emails a failure, think of it as 495 new prospects that may need a little more nudging or encouragement, or maybe just a little more time to come around. A sound e-mail drip campaign will dramatically increase your conversion rates as email remains a very strong closer for those on the fence.

Keep these five steps in place and you will see significant increases in the results of your advertising campaigns. For help with this tradigital marketing strategy to increase leads or any other marketing challenges, please call as at Baldrica Advertising and Marketing Group, or our digital agency, ‘b digital’. Thank you.

Promote the Heck out of it…Build it and they will come!

Oh, but how often do we ignore that first little line…Promote the Heck out of it…and just go right to the building part.

Back in my good ‘ol days, well before I ever had a ‘real’ job, I was a ‘DJ’. Any DJ worth listening to was also a great promoter. Any great promoter also had a team of promoters, insuring that thousands of flyers, were given out, by hand (this is before Facebook and MySpace, heck before the internet!) so that everyone knew when the party was, where, what time, who was DJing and of course, how much you had to pay to get in!

Thanks to all of those efforts we had many successful events, and long lines of people waiting to get in, even on those frigid winter nights in Jersey. That’s what I call social networking!

Sometimes I forget those lessons I learned, and what it really takes to create a buzz, and get enough excitement built around something so that a significant amount of people make it a priority on their busy social calendars.

One thing is for sure, I would never DJ at a club unless I was absolutely sure that the ‘street team’ as we called it, was in full force, handing out thousands of flyers, and submitting guest lists well in advance.

 

That one lesson could serve so valuable to so many new businesses that open up each day, without any fanfare or following to speak of. It seems they all think that they can simply open the doors and the people will come, and more often than not, their doors close within a year. To think that you can spend all of your money getting your new business ready to open and not have any budget to properly promote and market it, is a recipe for disaster.

As an entrepreneur myself, I know how anxious I get each time I have a new idea and want to bring it to market. I’m working on a new project right now and I just want to get the show on the road, BUT, a big part of getting the show on the road is the pre-show.

It doesn’t mean that you’re not moving forward, it just means you’re laying down the best foundation possible and opportunity to succeed. This entails many different tactics that in today’s world including PR on the web, social media, YouTube videos that go viral, events, sampling, endorsements, and so on.
Don’t wait until you’re open to start promoting, you should get your street team together and start promoting six months before you open. Set up a landing page, and offer a VIP invite for anyone who signs up, and they will also receive a special something on your grand opening.

Akin to a famous Abrahm Lincoln quote: “If I had eight hours to chop down a tree, I’d spend six hours sharpening my ax”…if you have a new venture on the horizon, spend most of the energy getting the word out, to insure a successful opening and a strong foundation for the future!

At what point should you consider an advertising agency?

I heard a quote recently that I love:

 

As a small company, the question of whether or not to use an agency for marketing and advertising is one that is not considered often enough. I believe there is a misconception that agencies are expensive and that no one knows how to market your company better than you (the owner) does.  When you weigh the costs of bringing the marketing ‘in-house’ it may at first look like a cost-savings move.  But in fact, the majority of the time the media spend becomes less efficient and less effective, and some companies never fully recover.

With the advent of social media, there has been an increase in companies taking their marketing in-house. Now that this ‘free’ medium is out there which makes it easy to market, many are of the mindset that money can be saved, and real ROI can be increased.  We’re all for that, and it’s a big part of our ‘tradigital’ strategy, but often the savings of in-house marketing is lost in wasted efforts that deliver poor results, as many find out that social media is not so easy, and generating results is not ‘free’.

In addition, many owners and employees fall victim to the old adage, ‘you’re too close to the forest to see the trees’.  By this we mean that many owners often do the advertising or marketing that they like the best, not necessarily the one that their audience likes the best.  We always start with the target market (demo) and the available budget and work it backwards to insure that we’re buying the most cost-effective media that delivers the largest share of your audience, combined with the best strategy (why buy) with tactics (why buy now). 

Many times as an agency we find that the owners and those who are responsible for marketing really do have the right ideas, but it’s a matter of pulling out the best ones, and then executing on the back-end. Ultimately a collaborative process yields the best results, combining the best ideas, with proven copy writing and creative production that delivers results.  Add that to the buying power of any good agency, and you can also significantly save on the cost of the media.

An article written years ago by Tony Benjamin still has just as much merit today as it does when it was written. It’s entitled 10 Reasons to Think Small, as in a ‘small agency’. Here are the 10 points:

1. You get better creative
2. Small agencies are less expensive
3. Substance over surface
4. Clients are more important to small shops
5. At small agencies people aren’t afraid to get their hands dirty
6. Small agencies are apolitical
7. Small agencies are faster
8. Small agencies are friendlier
9. Small agencies make a client’s budget go further
10. Small agencies need every client

Future posts will elaborate on each one of these points, but if you own a company or are tasked with the marketing and advertising success of that company, pick up the phone and give your local small ad agency a call (our number is 561-683-0404…shameless plug!).  Most often an initial consultation is free, and you can determine if they are the right fit is for you.

We consider our agency to be an extension of your company. When you work with us, it’s like partnering with another company that is focused on one task – increasing business through the message you convey. The goal is to allow us to do our job, and in turn let you focus on your job of running the company, and growing your company.

Don’t think you’re too small for an agency, the money you think you’re saving could be costing you a great deal. To schedule a free consultation with b digital, please visit us online at bdigitalagency.com (A division of Baldrica Advertising and Marketing) or call 561-683-0404

Slow and steady wins the race

Ok people, let me make something very clear…Social Media Takes Time!

I’m not sure where the misconception began, but many people seem to think that with Social Media you can ramp up and ‘get your message out there’ a lot quicker than with traditional media. The truth is, it’s completely the opposite.

Traditional media is about ‘pushing’ your message out, and getting it in front of as many people as possible, whether or not they want to hear about it. All that takes is some money, depending on the size audience you are attempting to reach.

Social media, or ‘inbound’ is based on not only permission based marketing, but also on relevance. If the ‘audience’ is not interested in your message, not only can they tune it out, they will not even look for it.

So how much time does it take?

Here is a handy chart by Beth Kanter that could easily be updated every day. However, even based on these estimates you’re looking at 15 hours per week! Hello…Is anybody home? The average work week is 40-45 hours per week, that adds up to 1/3rd of an already packed full-time job. Dare I say, a successful social media marketing plan requires full time effort?

Don’t let any ‘marketer’ or agency sell you the story that with social media your brand will be the talk of the town in a few days. But at the same time, ignore social media at your peril. Your audience continues to prefer to engage with your brand, rather than be bombarded by it, and you need to find that sweet spot in your marketing strategy.

Think of ‘Tradigital’ as a way of teaching an old dog, new tricks!

The more we have these ‘tradigital’ conversations with our clients, the more I see the light bulb go off in their heads. It’s almost as you can literally see a flip switched and all of a sudden ‘they get it’.

If you’re reading this and have no idea what I’m talking about, that’s great (read on!) and if you have been having tradigital conversations, than you probably know what I mean.

Let’s go back for a minute…tradigital is the integration of traditional media with digital for maximum results. Basically, we teach that traditional media is by no means dead, it’s just that the message needs to evolve to match the expectations of the audience.

If our plugged-in society, in general, ‘Googles’ everything, why are you giving them a phone number exclusively in your ads? Or, for that matter, sending them to an unprofessional website home page that doesn’t even feature the offer you are promoting?

A colleague of mine was recently telling me about a new account that had been advertising their product specials every week, in a half page ad. Because they had stores at each end of the market, they were buying two major newspapers, and spending about $150,000 per year to do so.

They first redesigned their website to make it professional and functional. Then they changed the ad in the paper to half-page, and basically promoted a call to action that asked the readers to visit the website and sign up for weekly specials via email. The owner was reluctent, he was ‘old-school’ and didn’t think you could use a newspaper ad to drive people online. Well, he did get about 50 calls from the portion of his customers that absolutely refused to change their old ways. However, in just over two weeks he has received over 2,400 email opt-ins!

In the past 6 years combined this retailer had not collected that much information from it’s customers. Here we are two weeks into a tradigital campaign and the opt-ins are increasing daily. Think of the power this retailer will have at it’s disposal once this list gets to 10,000 or 20,000 names.

Do you think he will keep advertising in the newspaper? Absolutley, because when you have a well-crafted ad, with a call to action that drives people to respond online, it works! At the same time, he was able to cut his advertising expense in half (sorry newspaper), and now has an available budget to do the same with radio or TV.

Tradigital can teach an old dog new tricks because you keep enough of the old to keep the dog happy, and then once they see that the ‘new’ is good, they quickly embrace it.

For more tradigital strategies contact John Garcia at b digital agency, inc / bdigitalagency.com

A Tradigital Strategy in 3 easy steps.

We keep pounding tradigital, using traditional media to set up digital because we understand not only the value of traditional media, but how readers, viewers and listeners prefer to respond. This graphic shows that of all the respondents to an online streaming radio ad, only 5% chose to call. An overwhelming majority of the responses were digital in nature.

So, if you are running an ad, and your call to action is ‘call or come in today’, you’re tapping into the preferred response action of only a very small amount of your audience. We see that most advertisers are actually starting to understand this, but without the money or resources they feel they have no other choice but to remain with the standard advertising model.

To address this, we have developed a 3 part strategy that allows you to easily leverage the power of mass media, by offering your audience an ability to respond and engage with you on their terms.

1st – Custom Landing Page. It has often been said website home pages are where good leads go to die. It’s true even of our own site, if we offer a ‘free marketing makeover’ and send the audience to our home page, and that page does not have that offer immediately accessible, that the visitor will most likely leave. If however we send them to ‘yourfreemarketingmakeover.com’ and that page has the detailed information, and how to take advantage of it, your conversion rates increase dramatically.

2nd – Tie in Social Media! Even if they convert on the landing page, you still want to offer the visitor a reason to ‘Like’ or ‘Follow’ you. These touch points give you much more influence and in an age of declining email open rates, this gives you an additional point of contact. If you can add an additional incentive, say ‘Like’ us to double your coupon, it may be worth testing that out.

3rd – Email Marketing Campaign. There is a big difference in unsolicited emails and opt-in email lists. Once someone has declared that they want to hear from you, there is a much larger likelihood they will open the emails and consider your message. Also, many buying processes take more than one exposure to the offer or business. Effective drip-email marketing campaigns remain one of the most effective tools to convert your prospect into a buyer.

At b digital, we have mastered this tradigital strategy and are partnering with media companies in South Florida to offer these services to their advertisers. By doing so, the media companies are allowing advertisers to leverage this strategy, and significantly increase the results of their campaigns. In return, the advertisers remain loyal and increase their buys.

If your preferred media company does not offer a tradigital strategy or offer the triple-pack we described above, ask them to contact us, or you can contact us directly and we will be glad to schedule a free consultation. We have seen advertisers increase results by 35%-50% or more!
One thing is for sure, more and more people will opt to respond online or digitally over responding via phone or coming in, and you need to make sure your company offers that choice. We hope you will choose us to get you there.