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 Now I have decided that three month periods will do for data collection as years of research in marketing becomes outdated by the time it is published in the forever increasing and changing monster that is the modern market place.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.

Ethics in Advertising

Introduction

Ethics have always been an important aspect of every business activity, although the term has meant different things at different times in different lands to different people. Nonetheless, as ethical concerns are an inseparable element of business, advertising can not ignore them. Sadly, the advertising industry has rarely cared to look beyond immediate marketing objectives. The argument in the industry is that it is the government’s job to judge what is right and what is wrong. Shirking its own responsibility for regulation, the industry has belittled business values and agencies have harmed their balance sheets.

For any business, customer is very important, and businessman attempt to communicate to all their target customers using means of communication like advertising and sales promotion. Advertising is a very powerful and most commonly used tool.

Benefits of advertising

o Communication

The organization has to attract the customer and create a market for its products. For this purpose, advertising is the most powerful and widely used tool for communicating message regarding products/services to a large target audience.

o To raise the standard of living

In our developing economy, adverting with its micro and macro level influences, exerts vast and varied influences that have played key role in raising the standards of physical and material well being of the Indian society.

o To make market competitive

In India, one finds many innovations being introduced which has changed the market structure from seller’s market, and thus the result is more competitive market conditions.

o Product differentiation

It is a fact that advertising brings about products variety through real and psychological product differentiation.

Critical evaluation of advertising

Though many benefits are achieved through advertisements, the ad message is becoming more and more exaggerated. To achieve competitive advantage, advertising magnifies unimportant differences, resorts to clever, tricky product promises, and claims more and more unbelievable benefits. The customer finds many advertisements as false, deceptive, or misleading. Consumers are uncertain regarding whether or not the performance of a product purchased will in fact meet their needs. If they find that the product lacks in quality, advantage, durability etc., as advertised they might not buy it again, and develop an aversion to every other product of that company.

Unethical advertising

Advertisement is considered unethical in the following situations;

o When it has degraded or underestimated the substitute or rival’s product.

o When it gives false or misleading information on the value of the product.

o When it fails to give useful information on the possible reaction or side effects of the product. And

o When it is immoral.

Ways of misleading the consumers

o Many a time, traders entice the customers into their stores by advertising goods at a very low price, but they stock only a handful of such sale items in the store. When the advertised goods are sold out, consumers are steered towards the higher-priced stock or lower quality goods.

Retailers must ensure that reasonable supply of products is available during the sales, and retailers should not purposely avoid it. Retailers should make it clear in the advertisement that how many items on sale are available or when the sale ends.

o Sale offer should be for a limited period. Advertisement should declare that sale offer is for a limited time period. The period of the offer should be made clear in the advertisement only when the advertised goods are available for a limited period or stocks are limited.

o Traders often offer insignificant price reduction. To illustrate, a trader may advertise that the price of product is reduced to Rs.99.95, when the normal selling price is Rs.100.. The trader must include the normal selling price and discounted price in his offer .The trader sale offer is misleading if the trader claims the product is below cost , when the price is not below cost after discounts, rebates and other allowances it is misleading if the trader simply shows a fictitious higher price as normal selling price in the advertisement.

o Advertisement must clearly indicate the total price of goods or services. All price comparison must be truthful and must not intentionally or unintentionally mislead the consumers. Under the Fair Trade Practices Act, retailers have an obligation to ensure that they do not mislead or make false representations to customers with respect to price of the goods. The consumers who shop around and compare the prices of various products are less likely to be deceived by misleading claims consumers should also be aware of what is a reasonable price of goods and not take any advertised discounts at face value.

o While many sales are legitimate or genuine, the consumers should not get attracted to such sales offers i.e., “Hurry…very few days remain for sale”. The consumers should be aware of what to expect when retailers place items on sale and how to avoid being misled by discount advertisements. A marketer should take care to ensure that when goods or services are advertised to be available at a discount or as being on sale, it is a genuine discount or sale.

Remedies to overcome deceptive advertisements

o Cease-and- Desist Orders

The cease-and-desist orders, which prohibit the respondent from engaging any more in deceptive practice, are actually the only formal procedure established by the Federal Trade Commission Act for enforcing the prohibition of ‘ deceptive acts and practices.”

o Restitution

Restitution means the consumer is compensated for any damage caused to him by the product that had advertised claims not adequately substantiated. Restitution is rarely considered because of its severity.

o Affirmative Disclosures

If an advertisement has provided insufficient information to the consumers, an affirmative disclosure might be issued Affirmative disclosure require ‘clear and conspicuous disclosure’ of omitted information. Often the involved information relates to the deficiency or limitations of the product or service possibly relating to matters of health or safety.

o Corrective Advertising

Corrective Advertising requires the advertisers to verify past deception by making suitable amendment in any of its future commercial.

Self Regulation in Advertising

It is our responsibility to regulate our operations. And we must do it ourselves. Self regulation is not a quick-fix solution; it will be completely ineffective with out commitment from and the integrity of one and all. Self Regulation may require the following;

o The development of a self-regulatory code of conduct covering all forms of media that is sensitive to ethics, legalities, decency and truthfulness in advertising.

o Provision for monitoring and accountability, including a policy allowing for the removal of ads that violate the code.

o Greater participation of advertising professionals in the regulatory process.

o The inclusion of non-industry players in the process

o Consumer awareness of the self regulation system.

o Simplification of the complaint process against ads.

o Transparency throughout the entire system.

These reforms will achieve three goals. They will make the industry accountable for its actions. They will make regulators and critics think twice before attacking the industry and finally they will lead the public to trust ads, advertisers and agencies.

Conclusion

Reputable companies and advertising agencies avoid telling lies. They realize the cost of being caught. A dent in trust can prove to be much costlier than the failure of an ad campaign or for that matter, even a brand. The challenge before advertisers and agencies is to ensure that ads reflect our values. We must endeavor to see that “advertising” does not remain a dirty word.

Radio Advertising Commandments – Part 1

In my last article “Local  Advertising  – The Biggest Mistakes” we took a look at the major media available for local advertisers to market their products. To follow up, I’d like to discuss the many uses of Radio. Sort of the 10 Commandments Of Radio  Advertising . This will take up several pages, for sure, so I’ll start by asking the most obvious radio questions.

Q: How do I know if radio will work for me & why should I use radio?

A: I usually have gotten these questions when a client is afraid & can’t stomach the idea of paying for an Advertisement that they can’t physically hold on to. In other words, they think that if they can’t SEE their Ad, then no one else can. They seem to have a hard time believing that a disembodied radio voice can move people to buy their product.

Yes, it’s probably true that most advertisers get their feet wet with print  advertising . Your typical print advertiser will place an Ad in a local weekly or daily newspaper and bingo, the next day – traffic. The results can be quite immediate.

Radio is a different animal and although it can work as effectively as print, it can be equally disappointing to a seasoned print advertiser.

Local radio  advertising  can turn off a new advertiser who expects immediate results, but it doesn’t have to be this way. Here are 10 reasons why “immediate results” are hard to come by:

1) the spots were not aggressive enough

2) the offer was not strong enough

3) there was not enough weight (number of spots) booked

4) the wrong local radio station was used to reach the desired market

5) not enough radio stations were booked

6) only radio was used

7) spots were poorly placed throughout the day

8) the production was poorly executed or the wrong announcer used

9) timing of the campaign was off

10) the new client had no name recognition

This brings me to Commandment #1

Don’t Underestimate The Power of Radio.

The voice is a wonderful thing.

Used properly, it can move you to tears, unleash a fury of anger, sooth both physical and mental pain, irritate you like chalk on a blackboard, hypnotize you into the most embarrassing behaviour, fire you up & motivate you to accomplish the most daunting tasks, fire up a nation to battle, seduce the most cold-hearted soul and yes, it can certainly convince you to happily part with your money.

In fact, the people who make radio production their livelyhood, are paid quite handsomely to get you to do things that are not on your priority list.

Ever listen to a movie trailer? Listen to the announcer. His job is to get you to see that movie. Whether you realize it or not, the impact of that voice lasts longer than you may be aware of.

You may remember the visuals, but it is the EMOTIONAL AUDIO IMPRINT that leaves you with a “I’ve got to see this when it comes out!” memory.

It is the same subliminal effect that radio can create.

The problem faced, is that most radio production quality can often be sub-standard.

Let’s face it – the radio station copywriters are under the gun to write & produce dozens of spots a day & there just isn’t enough time to write super creative & dynamic commercials. Even if the copywriter can squeeze out something really hot, there is often a lack of voice-over talent to make it happen. Let’s not talk about the studio engineer’s backlog!

This doesn’t mean that you can’t have an effective radio spot come out of a radio station. It just means that to make it more effective, you may have to go to a third party production house to get your spots professionaly produced.

This brings me to Radio Commandment #2

Get The Best Creative Production Possible

Why do you want the best creative possible? Well, there are several reasons.

1) it makes your  advertising  more effective

2) the cost of your campaign can actually be lower if more people respond to a better commercial, as fewer spots are necessary to make the same impact

3) better creative is more memorable.

4) strong creativity entertains and sells at the same time

5) powerful creative radio spots get people talking about the spot & consequently the product

“OK,” you’re saying, “but this sounds like it’s going to cost a fortune!”

Nothing could be further from the truth. What will cost you a fortune, is a radio  advertising  campaign that falls flat because the production was not up to scratch!

Remember,  advertising  is an investment if you eventually get back more than you paid. It’s a fortune if you don’t get back anything!

In order to make sure that there’s a payback, I highly recommend you look at all the variables and creative production is high on the list!

This brings me to Radio Commandment #3

Develop A Strategy & Stick With It

There are many ways to use radio. Short campaigns, long campaigns, image building, promotions, product launches etc.

The first thing to be aware of is that new advertisers have to develop name recognition with a station’s audience. This isn’t as important for long time advertisers who have used other media, but it is crucial for first-timers.

Well known advertisers are seen as reliable and trustworthy. The longer you advertise, the more favour you win with listeners. It is like money in the bank.

I advise all new advertisers to start with an introduction campaign to highlight who they are, what their product is and the benefits of shopping at their store.

This doesn’t mean that you can’t break the rules and have a grand opening with a fantastic door crasher special. Certainly that will work. But ideally, the best results for that type of scenario come when a “teaser campaign” precedes the grand opening.

Let me state that much of the advice offered here is what I believe to be the “safe route” to effective radio  advertising . Even under less optimal conditions, radio can be quite effective!

What you want to do, however, is not succeed by throwing tons of money into your  advertising , but rather cover all the essentials so that you have an effective and cost efficient campaign.

Good planning can go a long way.

In my next article I’ll continue with commandment #4

Use The Right Music Bed

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.

Mobile Advertising – Integral Part of Any Marketing Campaign

Mobile advertising is advertising through mobile phones or other devices like iPad. An integral part of any advertising campaign, mobile advertising is fast gaining popularity due to its quick, wider reach and its potential to track the effectiveness of a campaign. As the number of mobile users across the world continues to surge (studies show that the trend is likely to continue for several years), mobile media is evolving rapidly. Apart from simple mobile phones, smart phones based on Wi Fi or Wimax have also emerged as a popular means of promoting products and sending out social messages.

Forms of Mobile Advertising

Mobile advertising is done in several forms but the most common one is banner ads of varied sizes. Mobile web banner or web poster ads appear on the top of a page or bottom of a mobile screen. Another very popular form of mobile ads is the SMS advertising which contributes significantly to the global mobile marketing revenues. Other forms of cell phone advertising include MMS advertising, advertising within mobile games, videos or in-application ads which appear when an application is being loaded or before it is loaded. Another advantage of this mode of advertising is that its effectiveness can be measured in a variety of ways, such as on the basis of number of view and clicks. A recent introduction is interactive ads, which allows mobile users to interact with the advertiser.

Importance of Mobile Advertising

Mobile advertising is likely to emerge as the necessary driver for the development and commercialization of the mobile internet. It is an important tool for monetizing mobile content and applications. However, an effective cell phone advertising campaign can only be developed if the mobile phone operators, handset vendors, content providers, application developers and advertisers collaborate effectively. So, it must be taken up while taking into consideration the variety of handsets available in the market, their different screen sizes and support technologies.

The high potential of cell phone ad has seen a proliferation of advertising networks that provide the necessary infrastructure for developing mobile ads of various types that suit the specifications and requirements of advertisers. These companies provide their clients with a Software Development Kit or SDK to include mobile ads in the applications for a mobile phone.

Advertising Humor – Smart Advertising Choice?

The big sin in advertising and marketing is being boring. A market will forgive almost anything else. But a boring sales letter, commercial, or video will generate absolutely no interest in your product. The advertisement must be interesting to the prospect. Not interesting in general, but to that prospect.

Most small business advertisers who are putting together an ad, think of trying to be funny as their first priority. This is because many think of advertising as a form of entertainment. Advertising isn’t entertainment, it is selling. Making someone laugh when they see your ad, may make you feel better, and it feels like the ad should be working, but this isn’t the case.

You do not want to hear “Wow, I saw your ad. How clever (or how funny).” You want people to see your ad and then want to buy the product it is showcasing.

Is humor ever effective in your advertising? Sure. A viral video should be either very funny or very shocking. This will cause the video to be spread to all corners of the internet. You may even make some sales off of that video. Humor also has a place in advertising because to tends to stick in the mind of the consumer. Humor in advertising makes the company seem a little more “cool” because if the humor. But the humor should never get in the way of the appeal of the ad, which is to make someone want to buy the product advertised.

Advertisers should always put Selling first in their ads. After there is a strong appeal in the ad, then you can think of ways to say it in a funnier way. But never let humor get in the way of the selling.

Here is the danger of using humor in your ads. Some people may simply not get the joke. If they don’t get the joke, the ad will actually irritate them, because they won’t understand your point.

You may actually offend a few people. The humor, if really funny will direct the consumer’s attention to how funny the ad is, not how great your product is.

A funny and dramatic demonstration of your product, that really drives home a buying benefit, is useful because now they are talking about the demonstration, which is the same as talking about your product. See? You want them taking about your product, not the commercial.

What is almost universally useful in your broadcast ads, is smiling, friendly faces. They don’t have to be funny, but just happy. The prospect assumes they are happy because they are using the product. In print, it’s harder to be funny anyway, so you are trying harder to be funny, which doesn’t translate well to print. In print, ads should always try to sell, not be funny.

You can be interesting without going for a laugh. Do you know what prospective customers find interesting? Anything that will make their life easier, or will solve a problem that is bothering them. That’s what they find interesting. And not being interesting is the major sin in advertising.

Do you see the title of this article? Originally it was going to be Advertising Humor: It’s No Joke. Do you know why I changed it? Even though it is a semi-clever play on words, it wouldn’t make you want to read the article as much as the title I used. See the difference?

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.

Best of Advertising Blimps

Nowadays, inflatable advertising is a very common business to practice. It has been proved quite effective in grabbing public attention. So, in experts’ opinion, in coming days, it is going to be the first choice for all sorts of promotional activities. Just like any other normal business activities, this one also requires special attention and care. The perfect way to start advertising blimps business would be to consult with other business persons who have already established themselves in is domain. Their information, ideas and supplies; in some instances, affiliate plans also may work out to begin with, and these often work very well.

A few steps can be recommended as the guideline. For instance, let’s have a look upon:

o At first, one should get a license, arrange a business location and find a business name as well. The key idea is to make sure that there would not be any legal hassle.

o Minutely, analyze your rivals. It is quite significant to know how they work and what goes into making a bounce house, balloon inflatables and inflatable toy business successful.

o It would be also quite crucial to know what they charge for buying and renting their inflatables, what areas they deliver too, whether they only rent inflatables or offer other items like chairs, tables, etc.

o Though, it depends upon budget and affordability of every individual but the priority should be to set up complete business operation like website, logo, business cards, etc. this sort of thing enhance credibility and uniqueness of the company in public opinion. In other words, we can say that this is imperative for branding and marketing purpose.

The best part of this business is ‘investment’. It requires very nominal investment compared with many other businesses. But the point also should be noticed here that in order to start an inflatable advertising company, you have to have merchandise. This means buying or renting advertising blimps to determine how much money you can invest to begin with. So, set out a budget and look for good deals. Besides that you should always keep in mind that if you buy a crappy product, it is not going to last long; inflatable jump toys are no different.

Experts insist upon varieties. They believe that varieties in these sorts of advertising strategy are quite crucial. They never let the impact dull or die. Moreover, we must mention here that varieties are USP (unique selling point) of such advertising strategies. As a prudent advertiser, we can sit and discuss design and varieties of advertising blimps with the advertising vendor. We should make sure that our brand logo and name have been smartly highlighted on all the inflatable advertising materials.

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.

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