Monday, 17 March 2008

12 Questions to Ask When Hiring An Advertising Copywriter

Here are 12 questions you need to ask when you are thing of hiring an advertising copywriter

1. Strategic ability - Is their strategic thought behind their creative processes or are they being creative purely for the sake of being creative?

2. Does their work embody ‘salesmanship in print’ or are they simply creative writers?

3. Do they have the ability to write in different styles so they can adapt their writing to suit a particular industry?

4. Does the copywriter have the ability to visualise and communicate a concept to the designer?

5. Market research - How will they ‘get to know’ your target market? Will it be guesswork? Will it be based on experience? or will they roll up their sleeves and interview your clients?

6. Experience - What experience do they have doing work for clients in your industry? And if they don’t have experience, do they have transferable experience eg if you’re an accounting firm and they have experience working with other professional services firms.

7. Street smarts - do they have ‘in the trenches’ wisdom or a team of graduates with no ‘racked up’ points.

8. Measurability - Can they quote ‘measurable’, in the bank account results for clients or are they talking in terms of the creative awards they have won?

9. Product understanding - how do they intend to get to know your company, your product and the image you want to project? How have they done this with previous clients?

10. Are their fees in line with the measurable results they have achieved for clients?

11. Capacity - do they have the capacity to handle all your work with a quick turnaround?

12. Portfolio - does their portfolio show creative that met the needs of the client’s market or was it ‘highly creative’ but not projecting an image conducive with the market it was pitching to? When reviewing portfolios don’t assess their work on the basis of “do I like it” but instead look at it on the basis of “if I was in this industry would it be a fit with the image that I was wanting to project?”

If after these 12 questions you need to question their ability, they are probably not good enough and could effect your advertising success

Thursday, 13 March 2008

Free Advertising For Your Business

Many small businesses don’t have the budgets and funding to sponsor large advertising campaigns that will target customers and generate more sales. With few ideas of how to solve this problem and get over the advertising hurdle, many small or home-based businesses often do not last long and are forced to shut down with little or no revenue to show for it.

What most people don’t know is that there are several ways to advertise, target customers and make sales, all for free. One of the best ways to achieve this is through article writing. Local newspapers and trade magazines are always looking for content and, though editors might not always be willing to say this, they’ll often take press release-like articles and print them for free, all in an effort to fill up space and make their publication look as though it has more content.

The first step to getting published in a local paper or magazine is picking an engaging article topic that will not only interest readers but directly relate to your business and the products or services you offer. You should be incredibly familiar with the topic of your choice and try to keep in mind the type of people who will be reading the publication you’ll be printed in. You want to try and direct the article towards them and their needs, specifically in how your products or services can help them.

After you’ve selected a broad topic, sit and write down everything you know about the topic in bullet sentences. This exercise will serve as a great brainstorming technique and will help to organize your thoughts so you can create not one, but several well-written articles. Group together the bulleted points that relate most to one another and use these to write the first draft of your article. It’s important to be as specific as possible so that readers will recognize you as an expert on the topic. When they trust your knowledge, they’ll trust your business and be more likely to become customers.

When you’ve finished your first draft, go back, read the article over and make any necessary changes or edits. Be sure that the piece is grammatically perfect and that all the sentences and paragraphs flow with one another and make sense. Editors will be more likely to choose to run something if it is well written and addresses a specific, relevant topic. Be sure to include a biography and contact information within the article so that people can reach you and your business easily.

Though you may not have a large budget to pay for local advertisements, a great way to get your name out to the public and brand your business is to publish articles in local newspapers or magazines for exposure. Similar to press releases, the articles should contain relevant information about your business, products and services without signaling to the reader that you’ve written an advertisement. The more articles you print, the more familiar your name will be to the community and the more customers you’ll generate in the future.

Friday, 7 March 2008

Newspaper Advertising - Putting a New Spin on an Old Medium

Sometimes the old tried and true method of advertising still works well, even in a society dependent on electronic communication. Such is the case of newspaper advertising. Newspaper advertising may be one of the oldest methods of advertising – but it’s still surprisingly effective for many businesses.

Newspapers offer greater visibility than many advertising mediums. Most people read still read a newspaper, at least once a day. In a newspaper that has a good circulation, an ad is likely to be noticed by readers.

Newspaper advertising rates are dependent on a lot of factors. The cost of an ad may change based on the popularity of the publication, size of the ad, which section of the paper the ad appears in, how often you plan to run the ad, whether you need design help with the ad, etc.

With a newspaper ad, you take the chance that your ad will be overlooked by the reader. Readers tend to tune out small ads, and they may overlook an ad that simply appears in black and white. Typical black and white advertising in newspaper publications can be expensive, and may not have the same impact as a color ad. However, there is a way to continue to use the large circulation of a newspaper, and the color advertising of other mediums – simply by using newspaper inserts.

With a newspaper insert, you have a cost-effective method of advertising, you still take advantage of the newspaper circulation, and you have a method of advertising that has been tested to generate additional sales and help your company develop a brand image with customers.

A newspaper insert is basically a paper flyer that is inserted into newspapers. These inserts are often referred to as preprints, P & D, or Free Standing Insert (referred to as FSI). The advantage of an insert is that it offers more flexibility over a typical ad. For instance, with an insert, you can:

· Use high quality paper and attractive graphics to create a special insert.
· Add a “call to action” to your flier to capture the attention of the consumer.
· Insert contact information or special information about sales, promotions or special events.
· Produce an ad that stands apart from your competition.

Newspaper inserts are a cost effective method for producing advertising – in fact, it’s much more cost effective than some of the other highly coveted methods of advertising – direct mail, radio or television commercials.

With newspaper inserts you can use an ad that is guaranteed to be delivered to the doorstep of thousands of potential clients. You have the ability to select exactly which homes receive the ad (based on postal codes or demographics) and you market you business in a way that yields great results. Newspaper advertising tends to establish credibility to companies and the repeat exposure gives customers a sense of trust with brand identity.

Compare the cost of direct advertising mailing to newspaper inserts – you will spend 4 to 5 times as much on direct mailing as newspaper inserts. There are even a number of internet companies that can prepare your newspaper insert and send it directly to your preferred newspaper for insertion. Companies like can significantly cut the cost of your newspaper insert.

Newspaper advertising can be quite cost effective and bring new customers to your door. It all depends on how you select your advertising and how willing you are to get the most out of your newspaper investment.

Bring iMedia Into Your Website Promotion Mix

When developing your website you should consider adding iMedia to the promotional mix. Not only is this the leading edge of web marketing, the so called Web 2.0 movement, but it is enormously powerful and effective.

iMedia refers to the range of new digital media that can be used on websites to make them more interactive, exciting, and informative and reach the customer in powerful news ways. The growing popularity of iMedia presents massive new opportunities to the web marketer for getting across the marketing message quickly and effectively.

iMedia can be just simple background music playing when your site is opened or it can be an elaborate web video marketing campaign including lectures and tours. Whatever it is, if judiciously applied with the target traffic in mind, it can get sales revenue pumping.

The interactive aspect of iMedia is particularly exciting. Is allows businesses to create interactive audio-visual presentations with a viewer feedback facility. This is tremendously personal and immediate in a way that the prime media (print, TV, radio) could never be.

Make no mistake, the power of internet advertising marketing is rapidly replacing traditional advertising. Digital media, or iMedia, is leading this advertising revolution. I would like to discuss how you can quickly and easily join the iMedia revolution.

An easy way to start with iMedia is by adding simple web videos to your website. Statistics have shown that video invites higher click through rates. The popularity of online videos continues to rise as more users discover and share videos.

Another way to get onto the iMedia bandwagon is to include a brief video introduction to your website where the spokesperson talks about your business. It is important to note that you should never force visitors to watch videos or any strong digital media that lasts for more than five seconds.
Give them the option to view a brief one or two minute presentation. This builds trust and adds a personal element to your website. Another idea is to add product demo videos. This can be particularly effective if you have a complicated product. The better your product is understood the more likely you are to achieve sales.

Having explained the power of video, do not forget all the other aspects of iMedia. Other techniques include graphics, animations, sound and website effects such as rollovers and layers. iMedia can be described as any digital device that adds movement, sound and life to your website to provide the visitor with a rich web experience. iMedia is a great way to convey images and animations that visitors will always associate with your brand.
The best news is that if you invest time and concentration you can implement many of these iMedia effects yourself. Some of the software is still hard to learn but these are being simplified by the day. But any effort to get on the iMedia bandwagon will be rewarded. Not least it can bring pedestrian industries and products alive in a gripping and interesting way

Outdoor Advertising: How Good Is It?

A gulf of difference remains between producing a commodity or service and selling it effectively to the world at large, or even to the local community.

If your target customer base is not aware of the availability of the product or the service, how on Earth are they going to buy it? And this is where outdoor advertising can play a crucial role.

Advertising the product or service eventually brings it to the notice of prospective buyers though the media could be many, depending on the nature of the product, its intrinsic value and many other factors. However, of all the various modes of advertising, outdoor advertising seems to the best method for creating the most visual awareness possible, at least when the target audience is local or even national. But those companies who have a global market and also have a deep pocket often opt for outdoor advertising on a large scale whereby the advertisements are displayed all across the world.

Outdoor advertising is unique because you cannot turn it off, throw it away or click on the next page. This tantamount to the fact that the message is reaching consumers all the time 24 x 7 till the time you are putting down the advertisement.

The Various Forms of Outdoor Advertising

Outdoor advertising can take several forms including billboards, airport displays, shopping mall displays, taxi advertising, mass transit displays as well as mobile ads. Billboards are a highly effective advertising strategy that attracts the attention of cruising vehicles and their drivers when they are placed along highways or busy downtown streets. But designing ad matter for this type of media is a fiddly task since a billboard just has a few seconds to make an impact on the speeding vehicle and its passengers. Though billboards are still very popular among advertisers, quite a good many environmental groups dislike billboards as they feel that it promotes a consumer-oriented culture, intruding on the natural landscape of the surroundings.

Apart from billboards, some advertising agents arrange display of advertising at premiere airports in most innovative LED banner. As against split second exposure to rapidly moving vehicles, here the waiting airlines passengers get plenty of time to view the attractive, electronically displayed ad matter. Advertising agents go in for a strategic mix of mediums, capitalizing on bringing consumers in a buying state of mind. To them, the sky is the limit – starting from Sky Murals, Food Court program to Escalator and Stairway advertising.

Yet another popular mode of advertising in modern metropolitan cities is through running taxis. This type of advertising delivers eye level impact ads right to the customer. Since taxis go where people go, taxi advertising provides high frequency exposure on freeways, airports, downtown areas and business locations 24 x 7 day and night.
A newer version of on road advertisement is the mobile billboard, unique in nature and distinctive in presentation. Well illuminated colorful billboards, mounted on a specially built vehicle with ramp for lifting the ad matter to a suitable height for greater viewing, the mobile ad can be brought to any preferred site and kept there for as long as permitted.

Friday, 22 February 2008

Big Business Has Discovered Mobile Advertising

Marketing to customers via mobile phones has come on in leaps and bounds. Finally the mainstream marketers who promote the largest firms in the world have cottoned onto mobile marketing, which is a sure sign that it has come of age. The development of Short Message Service SMS technology, or text messaging as the technique is more commonly known, has advanced dramatically. This has allowed SMS to dovetail with other computerized technology and making test messages easily distributed and monitored. SMS communications now form part of most major marketing drives.

Mobile marketing had its origins early this century in Europe where businesses started to build lists of mobile phone numbers and send text plugs to offer various products. The service was often abused. This has since become better controlled and refined. Certain protocols are in place in most of the worlds leading economies to limit the flood of text messages to private mobile phones.

It is true to say that SMS has entered the mainstream as an advertising medium because of the flexibility it offers to advertisers. While email goes out over the public internet, mobile text messages are distributed via a wireless service. This has given advertisers who are using the system the opportunity to initiate ways to track of the sort of advertisements that are going out over their networks. Also there are several agencies concerned with mobile marketing. Two of these are the Interactive Advertising Bureau and the Mobile Marketing Association. MMA. Part of their task has been to set parameters for the industry.

In the beginning mobile marketing was negatively received by the media. This was due to its vulnerability to spam text messages. Admittedly many advertisers blemished the name of the medium. They employed the classic spam techniques, such as buying lists of mobile numbers and sending unwanted messages to tens of thousands of mobile phones. Once regulatory guidelines were put in place, however, mobile marketing matured and became popular with advertisers and acceptable to mobile phone owners. According to the experts, over 100 million SMSs marketing various products are sent to mobiles every month.

Mobile marketing has reached maturity over the past few years. The main reason has been that businesses are devoting a large portion of their direct advertising budgets to this form of advertising. Because companies regard mobile texting as a valuable investment, they are keen not to see the system abused. An important reason for businesses using mobile marketing is that customers are increasingly asked permission to have SMS sent to their phones.

Mobile operators are even putting in place double opt in measures so that consumers are very sure they want to receive text messages. In addition, consumers are able to opt out of the service whenever they wish by SMSing the word STOP to the sender of the message. Advertisers and mobile operators now follow the guidelines that are present in the MMA Consumer Best Practices Guidelines. All mobile marketers in the US are obliged to comply with these guidelines.

Monday, 18 February 2008

How To Profit From The Advertising Done By Other Businesses

Inside other businesses right in your locality are people, and those people could benefit from the goods and services you offer. In other words, business people are customers too, and what makes them so easy to reach is that businesses are continually handing out their contact details. Take advantage of this by picking up prospects from advertising information.
This is a great way to expand your prospect base which, as all serious business marketers know, is the basis of an effective marketing effort and finally their sales success. Sales are based on the percentage of successful prospects, so it is a numbers game. The more prospects you have the greater the chances of being able to set up an appointment to meet with them and gain their business.
Ideally you should computerize your prospects’ names and contact details in a contact management program on your computer, but if you do not have access to a computer yet you can create a manual card file using plain 3” x 5” index cards. You could also use a ledger. One way or another you are going to have to keep control of the information you will gather because there is plenty of it out there.
Here is a good way to go about getting the information you need from the advertising efforts of other businesses:

  1. Know what you are looking for.
    You will be looking out for the name of the business, the full address including the zip code, the telephone number and the names of the owner, management and staff with their titles.

  2. Keep a handle on the leads gathering process.
    You will be amazed at the number of business leads there are out there. Get a notebook or a recorder or just use your laptop to record all the details while you are on the road. You can transfer the information to a contact management system later.

  3. Use the yellow pages and other business directories.
    When you have a spare couple of hours visit your local library and use either Contacts Influential, Inside Contacts or any other printed directory. Then create leads using the geographical section (by zip code) or the SIC (Standard Industry Code) Section. Where the businesses are grouped together by type e.g. electricians, undertakers, etc.

  4. Make the most of the local newspapers.
    Newspapers are just packed with leads waiting to be cherry-picked. In addition, you can learn a lot about your industry from the newspapers. Take note of what other businesses in your niche are advertising and what they are advertising. Read the business section for announcements of new businesses that may be targeted to your niche.

  5. Make a point of picking up every free business directory you can find.
    There are plenty of free papers, flyers, brochures and local businesses directory available free on stands outside of frequently visited businesses, like real estate offices and restaurants. These are often well-targeted e.g. senior citizens, sportsmen, etc. so an appropriate free advertising sheet could be just stacked with potential leads.

  6. There is gold in your junk mail!
    Even businesses who dump junk mail in your mailbox or inbox could be a prospect for your business. Keep adding them to the database.

  7. Here are many more sources of potential contacts.
    Magazines, radio ads, junk emails, local TV advertising, chamber of commerce directories, business directories, direct mail coupons, billboards, church bulletins, business cards displayed in supermarkets and restaurants, trade show brochures and mobile advertising units

  8. Differentiate your leads from your contacts.
    You might want to have one database for your leads or potential contacts and another for those that you have already contacted and are one their way to being customers, or are already your clients. This is a good way to get plenty of targeted communication going with prospective and existing customers.

  9. Business-to-business cold calls can be a pain in the neck.
    Don’t call a restaurant during the peak times like breakfast, lunch or dinner. If you aren’t sure of the schedule of the business you are contacting at least be sensitive. Ask the person who answers the phone when the best time would be to call your prospects.