Tuesday, August 31, 2010

5 Blogs You Need To Follow

Blogs are popping up left and right these days, but with so many to choose from, it can be hard to tell which ones have information that will be valuable to you. To make things easier, here are five blogs that provide excellent content that will be useful to business owners, social media gurus, and bloggers.

Here they are in no particular order:

This blog covers all topics related to promotion. New technologies, social media, and mobile advertising are just a few topics that are routinely covered by Big Promotions

Topics include finance, technology, innovation, management, small business, and global. This is an excellent resource for keeping up with current business trends. 

This advertising strategy blog covers everything from SEO to writing headlines. 

This blog focuses on the impact and importance of social media. It also covers current and emerging trends.

Mirna Bard is a strategy consultant who specializes in social media, SEO, and eMarketing. her blog focuses on tips that maximize the value you gain from your social media efforts.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Personalized E-mail Marketing

E-mail marketing often does not get enough attention from small businesses. While e-mails are easy for customers to ignore, they are more likely to open them than a letter.

The real benefit from e-mail marketing, however, is that it can be an extremely personalized message. Instead of aiming your professional marketing communication at a generalized version of your target audience, you can write directly to the person that will receive the message.

Writing directly to each individual has extremely powerful and positive results. When a consumer reads generalized copy, they are very aware of it. They know that they are trying to be persuaded, and they have their guard up. Copy that is meant specifically for them, however, makes them feel like they are just receiving information. It becomes less of a marketing tactic in their eyes and more of an opportunity to learn.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Simplicity in Strategy

Simplicity is one of the most powerful techniques you can use when marketing or advertising. Things that are simple are also easy, and when you're trying to inspire someone into an action, easy is good.

Consider a Web site. While your natural instincts may tell you to add a lot of elements and gadgets, this can often lead to confusion for the user. Since Web sites are now one of the main avenues consumers use to find product information, find contact information, and make a purchase, it's absolutely necessary to make sure that your Web site is easy to navigate and understand.

Logos provide yet another example of the positive power of simplicity. Logos are created to stick in the minds of consumers. The more complex, the more there is to memorize. This makes it much more likely that your logo will not be remembered.

In short, simplicity in marketing or advertising increases the chances that your company will be considered by a customer because it eliminates potential speed bumps on the road to a purchase.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

The Importance of Visual Communication

As you may be able to tell, considering we are putting time and effort towards creating and maintaining a company blog, we appreciate the power of words to effectively deliver a message. Graphics, however, hold a very special place in our hearts.

The use of imagery to communicate and persuade has a few distinct advantages that cannot be obtained through the use of the written word alone. While great writing can capture your imagination and paint a vivid picture in your mind's eye, it is ultimately you who has created that image. Sure, the writer gave you the boundaries. You also probably wouldn't have thought about the image in the first place had you not read what you did, but there is only so much detail that can be described through the use of colorful adjectives and eye-opening metaphors.

With images, however, the graphic designer knows exactly what the viewer will see. There's no guesswork involved because the image is right there to investigate, and if something seems ineffective or inappropriate, it can be changed.

Another advantage is that people tend to respond more to visuals. Would you want an advertisement for your business that consisted of nothing more than blocks of compelling and persuasive copy? Absolutely not. No one would take the time to look at it because of its lack of visual appeal. Without eyes to read it, the most effective copy in the world will do you no good.

These are just a couple of the unique advantages offered by design oriented work. While we could probably make a much longer list of benefits, it's not entirely necessary. Ultimately, design and copy must come together to produce something far more compelling and interesting than either could on their own.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Branding as Personality Traits

Branding is absolutely necessary for any business regardless of what it's selling. Most people seem to understand its importance, but they struggle when asked to define it.

Some might say it's the image, how people perceive the business relative to the competition. Others explain that it's the history, everything from the start up to where the company now stands. The truth is that it is both of these things, and so much more.

Branding encompasses your logo, website, history, price, availability, consumer perceptions and more. To keep things simple, think of branding as the effort put forth that attempts to control your brand's "personality."

It often helps to think of your brand as a person. Should it be the sexy and exclusive model that so many fashion companies strive for, or should it be the sturdy and reliable friend, like some of the less expensive car companies try to be.

Whichever personality trait you choose to ascribe to your brand, and their are far more than the two examples we chose to provide, it's important that you are proactive in making that vision a reality. After all, if you don't decide your brand's personality, someone else will.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Repositioning the Advertising Industry.

It's often been said that advertisers create a need within a consumer, but that isn't exactly how it works. In truth, everyone shares the same basic needs, such as food, shelter, sense of belonging, etc:.. Advertisers cannot create these needs, nor do they have to.

Ralph Starr Butler, a member of the Advertising Hall of Fame, once said, "Advertising promotes that divine discontent which makes people strive to improve their economic status." We're not sure it could be stated any better.

The challenge that advertisers must face is how to awaken those needs that already exist within potential customers. Doing this brings a sense of separation in each consumer between his or her desired and actual states. Then, advertisers must show how a particular product or service is the perfect solution. This is the process that Butler referred to as "promoting that divine discontent."

In this way, advertisers do not create needs. They just remind you that they're there and offer a solution.