Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Bathroom Advertising: Passes The Smell Test

Advertising in the bathroom, is it a smart idea? People are already bombarded with ads everywhere they turn. From television and radio to buses and billboards, no one can escape them. Still, bathroom advertising seems quite invasive. Surely, consumers would be upset.

Research has shown that may not be the case.

Consumers Respond Favorable To Advertisements In Restrooms
According to LifeTips people do not have unpleasant feelings towards advertising in public restrooms. In fact, 43% of those surveyed indicated that they felt bathroom advertising is a "very good" idea, while only 2% felt it was a "very poor" idea. The same study showed that 24% gave a more positive response to a brand as a result of advertising in public restrooms. 5% had a more negative response to a brand. This shows that the majority of people are not upset by bathroom advertising. It actually has a positive effect in most cases.

Consumers Remember Advertisements In Restrooms
Not only do most people respond favorably, but the engagement rate is very high. BrooWaha posted an article with some pretty amazing statistics. Out of everyone questioned, 84% were able to recall specific advertisements they had seen in the restroom, 92% were able to name the specific advertisers without prompting, and 88% remembered at least four selling points of the ads they saw. This proves that advertising placed in public restrooms are extremely effective at capturing people's attention. This is most likely because there is not much else competing for their attention.

Targeting Advertisements In Restrooms Is Easy
It should also be noted that bathroom advertising is also easily targeted. Obviously, one can separate genders quite easily, but one can also target based on income, age, and lifestyle by researching which demographics go to which restaurants, bars, or wherever.

For these reasons it seems that bathroom advertising is worth exploring. Any ads that don't bother people, capture attention, and produce favorable attitude changes are always a good idea.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Social Media Goals

eMarketer recently published an article explaining that most marketers are using their social media platforms as a way to gain brand awareness and customer loyalty. What most companies where not trying to do is bring in new customers. This is a sound emphasis for several reasons.

Social Media Is Long Term
Expecting to hop on Twitter or Facebook and get a bunch of prospective customers to seek you out for a purchase is dream. You have to take your time. Follow people and engage in conversation with them. Provide relevant and entertaining information. People will find your social media accounts for the content you produce on them, not the product or service you sell. Once you position yourself as an expert in your industry, people will start coming to you.

Social Media Is Not Hard Sell Friendly
As mentioned early, people come to your social media accounts for the content that you generate. What they are not looking for is a pitch. Constant sales pitches are a sure fire way to disengage your audience. The only way to get around this is to offer discounts. People do not mind finding coupons and offers on social media, but you will still need to balance it with interesting content. 

Social Media Gets You Seen
Everytime you tweet on Twitter or post on Facebook, your logo is shown. When people are consistently exposed to your logo and company name, they will remember it. If your content is good enough, people will share or retweet it. Often times, this will expose your logo and company name to people that would not see it otherwise. Of course, this means an increase in brand awareness.

Social Media Is Engaging
Social media gives you a great way to interact with customers. If you are doing business with another company, it provides an easy way for you to promote them and the things that they do well. An act such as that will be greatly appreciated. If you are doing business with individuals, you can see what complaints they have about you and change them. This will certainly help your customer loyalty.

But Will It Make Money?
It can, but your goal should be long term growth. Social Media will not send people running to your website to make a purchase. What it will do is expose you to new people and help you to retain the customers you already have. Eventually, one of the people who discovered you will be in need of a service you provide, or a customer you may have lost will be saved. New customers are always great and retaining customers is even better.   

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Are Print Newspapers Over?

Print newspapers are dead. At least, that's what everyone has been saying. It's not hard to see why they think that, either. Several newspapers have gone out of  business in the last few years, and the ones that are still around had to make some serious cutbacks. And really, who needs a paper? Twitter will make sure we're aware of the latest news, and blogs will give us all the details. Ad spending can simply switch to digital media. So, newspapers are over. It's pretty black and white, right? Let's take a closer look

-Why Print Newspapers Are Useless
According to Direct Marketing Newswire, a 3.5% decline in circulation is expected each year. This is a major hit. It seems that consumers feel that they have less need for print newspapers. In fact, digital sources are claiming 57% of the news consuming audience. This trend will probably continue. Does this mean that advertisers should take their money elsewhere?

-Why Print Newspapers Matter
According to NNNLP, while print newspaper circulation is declining, its influence is still very powerful. 82% of adults said they have taken an action as a result of a newspaper in the last 30 days. 82% also said that they have used a newspaper insert within the last 30 days. These are impressive figures. The vast majority of readers were compelled into action due to a newspaper. Certainly, marketers can use this to their advantage.

But wait. There's more.41% of adults say they use newspapers more than any other medium to view ads. This compares with 21% for internet and 8% for  TV. Even more surprising is that 77% of adults said that they would not remove advertising from their newspapers if the could. 64% said the same for Web sites and 48% for email. This means that while your audience may not be as large, it is more engaged.

There are other factors that make print newspapers appealing to advertisers. They are considered to be a credible source of information, unlike blogs, and ads are taken more seriously as a result. Also,the audience on average has a higher salary, which is never a bad thing (unless that's out of your target market). For these reasons, we don't believe that print newspapers are dead.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

How to: Engage Your Audience

Engaging your audience is essential if you have any hope of making a sale. People like to feel like they are cared for when they interact with a business. Here are a few ways to make sure you are connecting with, rather than talking to, your audience.

1. Talk in Their Language
It's very important that you speak to your audience in the language that they use everyday. People want to feel like you understand them. There is no better way to make them feel understood than to speak as they do. It also positions your brand as "one of them," which is great because people like to feel like they are buying from a friend rather than a salesman.

2. Connect With Them on Their Turf
Seek your audience out because you don't want to rely on them to seek you out. Find out which programs they watch, magazines they read, radio stations they listen to, and social media outlets the use. Once you've established where they are, go there. Put your message in front of their face. After all, you do want to make this as easy for them as possible.

3. Show, Don't Tell, Your Benefits
If it all possible, demonstrate what your product or service provides to its consumers rather than describing it. While descriptions can sometimes do a wonderful job of explaining why a purchase is a good idea, it is often considered unappealing and is easily dismissed (who doesn't talk about how great their product is?). A demonstration, on the other hand, is not so easily ignored. Think of the old Timex "takes a licking and keeps on ticking" commercials.While the tagline is catchy, it was the fact that it showed various attempts to destroy the watch thwarted that made it such a successful campaign.

4. Help Don't Sell
People do not like to be persuaded, they like to be helped. Don't talk about how great your product or company is, talk about how much better you can make your audience's lives. They will appreciate this. Though people don't like to advertised to, they do like to receive information. It's our job to blur the line between them.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

How to: Get Started on Twitter

If you're just getting started on Twitter, it can be very confusing and overwhelming. You've got things to say and websites to link to, but how do you get followers so that someone actually reads what you're putting out there? Here are some tips:

1. Follow the accounts on this list
Almost everyone that appears on the list will follow you back. You might be thinking that this will just pad your follower numbers without providing you with an audience that is genuinely interested in your topic. You're absolutely right. Fortunately, I'm not just having you increase your followers for nothing. It makes a big difference to a prospective customer whether you have 100 or 10,000 followers on Twitter. More followers looks like your company is a well respected authority in your particular industry. 

2. Follow related accounts
If you sell cars, follow accounts that talk about new cars, new car technologies, and industry trends. If they notice that one of their followers is tweeting information that would be relevant to them, they will most likely follow back. This way you can gain more followers while working on building an audience that cares about what you have to say.

3. Follow your target audience
Now that you have a decent base of followers, seek out your target audience. This is easiest to accomplish when the target audience is based in a certain region. When this occurs, you can find accounts for newspapers and sports teams in that area. Look at the list of people that are following those accounts and follow them. Again, they will most likely follow you back.

4.Retweet other people
Whenever you see a tweet or a link to an article that you find interesting, retweet it. This helps you to form relationships and engage your audience. Often it will result in a retweet or a suggestion from the person you retweeted to their followers to follow you. Both of those can result in more followers for you. Do not, however, hit the retweet button below their tweet. If you do this, your company logo and name will be replaced by theirs. Instead, copy and past their tweet and before it write RT @whomever.

5. Use hashtags
Hashtags are words or phrases that are put after a "#." They become hyperlinks. When you use these, it makes your tweets, and by extension you, easier to find. Make sure they relate to the article or tweet. For example, on our Twitter page we talk about marketing, social media, advertising and graphic design, so some of the hashtags you will find include #marketing, #socialmedia, #advertising and #graphicdesign.

Other than that, the biggest thing is to be patient. It takes time for people to notice you, it takes time to get people to care and it takes a lot of time before it will affect your sales.

Friday, September 3, 2010

What Ideals Does Your Company Advertise?

Norman Douglas, a member of the Advertising Hall of Fame, once said, "You can tell the ideals of a nation by its advertisements." We agree with this sentiment. By noticing the advertising that is shown in any given country, you really begin to understand what its residents value. It could be sex, fame, money, power, self-fulfillment, charity, or multiculturalism. Whatever is considered an ideal within a country will either be promoted or appealed to through advertisements.

The same is true for your company. Everything you put in front of consumers says something about your business. You could be saying that your company believes in great value rather than low price or that your company believes a good night includes football, girls in bikinis, and lowered inhibitions. We aren't saying that one value is better than any other, but all values have the possibility of resonating  with certain people, while isolating others.

The point is that you must be careful. Your promotions are your image, and your image is everything.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

5 Twitter Accounts You Should Be Following

Twitter has become an avenue through which incredibly valuable content can be obtained. Unfortunately, it is also filled with accounts that have little, if anything, of value to offer. These are five accounts, and their Twitter bios, that we feel provide relevant and helpful information on small business issues such as, social media, blogging, and marketing.

Real Name: Susan Solovic
Bio: "CEO and co-founder of SBTV.com, small business expert, media personality, author and attorney."

Real Name: Braden Kelley
Bio: "Author, speaker, insights professional, and customer relationship engineer."

Real Name: The Small Company Blog
Bio: "Dozens of 100% Original Articles Relating to Small Company Marketing and Internet Marketing, Blogging, SEO, SEM, Social Networking, HR Strategy, and more."

Real Name: Brian Rice
Bio: "Experienced marketing professional interested in social media, SEO, SEM, and branding. Views are mine and mine along."

Real Name: Dan Ross
Bio: "I tweet about social media, internet marketing & self development with an SMB focus. I have an MBA from Rice & 10+ years working with executives."