Have You Tried Guerilla Miniature Billboard Advertising?

Whilst driving to Mount Maunganui yesterday I spotted these tiny billboards strapped to street light polls and road signage opposite Mount Maunganui High School:

4 Lessons You Can Learn From These Guerilla Miniature Billboards

What can you learn from this clever “guerilla” method of advertising? Could you replicate this strategy for your business?

1. Do it cheap.

  • They are made of the core-flute just like real estate signs.
  • There is no graphics.
  • You could get them made for about $10 each.
  • Budget looking can be very effective. When you get junk mail in your letterbox at home do the crappy hand-written flyers get your attention first before the sleek professional Warehouse/Dick Smith/KFC flyers? For sure.

2. Keep your message simple.

  • Mountain bikers know what “MTB” means so this headline captures the target audiences attention.
  • On a full size 6m x 3m billboard your word limit is about 11. So in this case you have about 5 words.
  • What simple 4 or 5 word headline can you use to cut through to your target audience?

3. Choose a single call-to-action.

  • In this case, you just visit the website if the headline “MTB Downhill Racing” appeals to you.
  • The website address is related to the headline so it’s reasonably easy to remember.
  • On a website you can state 5 or 6 different ways to contact you, on a miniature billboard you must choose just one.
  • A website address is very good. A phone number could work but many people prefer to check you out anonymously via a website rather than call a number and get “sold to”.

4. Repeat your message.

  • Normally you don’t get the chance to repeat a standard 6m x 3m billboard 20 metres down the road, because it’ll double your costs.  So you are only giving your billboard one chance to be read as your potential customers zoom past at 50 kph or 100 kph.
  • In this case there were 3 miniature billboards about 20 metres apart.
  • I didn’t really notice the first, but I quickly read the second, and I read the third carefully.
  • It made an impression that a single exposure would not have.
  • In fact, I turned my car around and stopped on the side of the road, took some photos, wrote this article and visited www.mtbtauranga.co.nz.  That’s the magic of repetition.

“Great, but are these billboards legal?”

Probably not. The Tauranga City Council probably has a bylaw which prohibits this sort of guerilla advertising, and other councils around the country do too I bet.

If they get a complaint from the public (or your competition!), the council will take them down for sure (you probably won’t even get fined!).

But until then, you’ve got yourself some very cheap and effective advertising, so go for it!

Like this idea?

I have a million more.  Give me a call on (07) 575 8799 to tell me about your business and we can think up some clever ideas about how to generate more sales for you. At the very least sign up to this blog using the form on the right!

– Sheldon.

New Features From FeedMyInbox – More Than Just Converting RSS (News Feeds) Into Emails

Do any of the following apply to you?

  1. Have you heard about RSS but can’t really be bothered with it?
  2. Do you have a few favourite blogs or news sites, but it’s up to you to remember to check them for new content?
  3. Do you have a News Feed (RSS) Reader like Google Reader but it’s a pain keeping up with it?
  4. Are there newsletters you’d like to sign up for but you don’t like giving away your email address?

If you answered “YES!” to either of those, then I have good news.

First, a quick definition of RSS:  It stands for “Real Simple Syndication”, and it just converts blog articles and news articles into a file format (XML) that can be understood and distributed using any RSS reader.

4 Reasons Why I Use The FeedMyInbox Method For Converting RSS Into Email

  1. I can keep up to date with the latest content of 50+ blogs effortlessly
  2. If I’m one of the first to comment on these blogs, hundreds of people will read my comment and that is good branding for me (and they have a link back to my website in my comment)
  3. I can avoid getting distracted by filtering these messages automatically into a folder that I can look in when I’ve finished with the task at hand
  4. If I get sick of a blog, I can unsubscribe with one click. Simple. Clean. Efficient. (And I never have to email the author “please take me off your list”!)

A few months ago I wrote about www.FeedMyInbox.com: How to receive News Feeds (RSS) via email

Well, they have just added more features.

How FeedMyInbox Worked Last Year

Last year you could simply:

  1. Paste in the feed url of the website you want to subscribe to
  2. Type in your email address

And you would start recieving those feeds as emails.


New Features Added To FeedMyInbox This Year

With an account, now you can:

  1. Customise the subject line of incoming emails (really handy, because most bloggers don’t name their blogs very well)
  2. Opt to receive those feeds in real-time, or choose another time of day you’d like to receive them (I like to have them in real time so the freshest are always on top)
  3. Opt to receive the entire article in the feed as an email, or just the title and a hyperlink
  4. Download a “Bookmarklet” to your web browser, so subscribing to a new feed is only 1 click away

They are offering a free trial of up to 5 feeds (I’d like to see them extend this to 10 so people get a chance to get addicted).

Give it a try yourself, see the “Get Notified By Email About New Articles” widget on the right of this page? Just add your email address there and you’ll get notification about new articles on this blog.

Email Newsletters: 10 Tips For Designing & Building Your Email Newsletters

Great advice from Smashing Magazine about how to design and build your email newsletters:

  1. Respect your reader. Don’t waste their time or attention.
  2. Ask nicely first.
  3. Focus on relevance.
  4. Design with a goal in mind, so that you’ll know if it worked.
  5. Make unsubscribing easy.
  6. Code like it’s 1999 (literally) and use inline CSS.
  7. Always include a plain text version.
  8. Don’t assume that images will be viewed.
  9. Follow the law.
  10. Test everything before sending, because you can’t take it back.

Read the entire article: Design and Build Email Newsletters Without Losing Your Mind (and Soul)

Is PayPal The Easiest, Cheapest Way For Your Non-NZ Customers To Pay You Into Your New Zealand Bank Account?

I’m hoping that this article will save you the 45 minutes of research I just had to do.

  • Do you have clients or customers based outside of New Zealand?
  • Do you want to know the easiest, cheapest way for those non-NZ customers to pay you into your New Zealand bank account?

That’s exactly what I wanted to find out.

I found many options, most of which I’d never heard of.  But one brand kept coming up again and again: PayPal.

I found lots of criticisms, but it is probably the #1 payment service in the world, so let’s just go with that.

But I’m worried my profit will be whittled away with fees.

My next mission was to find out what fees will I be charged:

  1. For the transaction?
  2. For currency conversion from US dollars to NZ dollars?
  3. For withdrawing the funds from my PayPal account into my New Zealand bank account?
  4. For receiving the funds into my New Zealand bank account? Will my NZ bank charge me?

You’d think I’d easily find the answers to these questions on PayPal’s website. Sadly, no, that is not the case.

1. What fees will I be charged for the transaction?

  • 3.4% + $0.30 USD

Source: PayPal Website

2. What fees will I be charged for currency conversion from US dollars to NZ dollars?

  • 2.5%

Source: PayPal Website

3. What fees will I be charged for withdrawing the funds from my PayPal account into my New Zealand bank account?

  • $1.00 for amounts below NZ$150
  • Free for amounts above NZ$150

Source: Helium.com

4. What fees will my bank charge me for receiving the funds into my New Zealand bank account?

  • Zero. (I’m guessing. If I’m wrong, please correct me in the comments below)
  • But it can take 6 – 8 days to arrive

Example #1: US$100 transaction

  1. Transaction Fee: 3.4% x US$100 = US$3.40 + US$0.30
  2. Currency Conversion: 2.5 % x US$100 = US$2.50
  3. Withdrawal Fee: US$1.00 because US$100 = NZ$135 which is below the NZ$150 threshold
  4. Total PayPal Fees: US$7.20 = NZ$9.80 (which is a whopping 10% of the clients invoice!)

Example #2: US$200 transaction

  1. Transaction Fee: 3.4% x US$200 = US$6.80 + US$0.30
  2. Currency Conversion: 2.5 % x US$200 = US$5.00
  3. Withdrawal Fee: Free because US$200 = NZ$270 which is over the NZ$150 threshold
  4. Total PayPal Fees: US$12.10 = NZ$16.47 (which is 8.2% of the clients invoice)

Here’s a cool world currency calculator if you want to do your own calculations.


  • Wait until you have more than NZ$150 in your PayPal account before you withdraw the funds into your New Zealand bank account

Difference Between Unique Visitors, Visitors, Visits, Page Views, Hits. And Why You Should Care

First, the definitions:

  • Unique Visitors – The number of individuals who have visited your website. But, if a person on a dial-up connection disconnects and reconnects, they will be assigned a different IP address and therefore be counted as another unique visitor if they return to your website.
  • Visits or Visitors – The number of visits to your website. A single unique visitor could be responsible for many if about an hour passes between them taking action (eg they leave your website open on a tab in their browser and forget about it until they click on it an hour later).
  • Page Views – The number of web pages your website serves. So a single visitor may go back to your home page several times, or refresh a page, each instance counts as another page view.
  • Hits – The number of files your website serves. Every time your CSS (Cascading Style Sheets) loads, every time each image on your website loads, each time your php or html files load, all these count as 1 hit. So if a website has a lot of these items on its home page, a single page view of that home page may generate 40 hits. And if a website has very few items, a single view may only generate 20 hits.

Why should you care?

You should care because the method that you choose to measure your websites success is important.

You should care because there is a lot of confusion out there about which one to use, and especially when selling advertising space people will brag about how many “hits” they get, so now you know to ask them “what about unique visitors, or page views?”

Which one should you use? Unique Visitors? Visits? Visitors? Page Views? Hits?

Unique Visitors.

  • Hits is no good because you could double it overnight just by adding a few images.
  • Page Views is no good because you could have pages that need lots of refreshing (F5 on your keyboard).
  • Vists/Visitors is ok, but if one particular person comes back several times in one day because they keep getting interrupted, you really only want to count them once.
  • Unique Visitors is the best choice (and most webstats software reports that statistic accurately)

So the next time someone says to you “my website is so cool, I get 1000 hits a day”, you can say, “Whatever! I could put 100 tiny images on my pages and generate 1000 hits an hour! How many Unique Visitors do you get a day? That’s the only number that really matters!”.

And then they say “Wow, I’ve been such a dumb arse, how did you get so smart?”, and then you say “I learnt about it at Sheldon Nesdale at Firstbyte Websites in Tauranga, New Zealand, you should get his help with your website, he’s so skilled and very handsome!”.

Has Telecom New Zealand Finally Got Their Shit Together? Perhaps So.

Everyone likes to beat-up the big brands.

They are an easy target.

There is always something to complain about.

And its comforting that your complaint is just one of many because you know there are hundreds or thousands of customers who feel the same way you do.

You don’t expect to get an official response. You just want to get your feelings off your chest.

Telecom NZ is one of those brands.

You hate Telecom.

I hate Telecom.

Everyone hates Telecom.

Don’t you just dread the prospect of being forced to give them a call to report a fault, or deal with a billing issue, or set up a new service, or anything?

For the next couple of days you probably tell everyone you meet about how an hour or two of your precious time was wasted on hold to Telecom’s call centre in India/Phillipines for an issue that should take 2 minutes to fix (or should never have occured in the first place).

You are not alone. I’m just like you.

So when Vodafone started offering home lines a few years ago I switched over. It felt good to support the underdog.

It’s been 3 years now since I’ve had to deal with Telecom.  But last week I switched back because I had heard good things about Telecoms new broadband plan “Big Time“, and I was tired of my broadband provider Xnet.

I watched Telecom change their logo a few months ago, and noticed they have updated their website too, but I thought that was the end of it – just cosmetic changes, nothing too serious.

But I was wrong.

They have upgraded their service too.

Here’s my experience over the last 10 days:

Contact #1:

  • Called to signup with Telecom.
  • They took my account numbers for Vodafone and Xnet (my broadband provider at the time), and promised to close those accounts for me.
  • We chose a switchover date of 31 Dec 09 to avoid any double billing.  [WIN!]
  • I demanded that the connection fee be waived. They agreed. [WIN!]

Contact #2:

  • On the 4th of January, after 4 days of smooth operation, there hadn’t been any improvement with my broadband speed (0.7Mbit/sec). I was disappointed. This was the primary reason I changed.  I called the Telecom help desk.
  • My call went through to the Phillipines which worried me. I gritted my teeth. But the lady on the other end of the phone knew her shit inside-out!  [WIN!]
  • She ran through some tests including a check on the distance to the nearest Telecom exchange, and among other things, suggested I turn off my modem for 60 seconds. By the end of the call my download speed had increased 50% (to 1.5Mbit/sec).  [WIN!]
  • She also detected that my modem was only ADSL, not ADSL2, so she suggested that was another reason for slow speeds.  She asked if I had received my free modem from Telecom yet. I had not, so she transferred me to dispatch in New Zealand and stayed on the line to introduce us “Sheldon, I’ll now have Frank on the line ‘Hi Sheldon!’, he’ll take you through the next steps”. [WIN!]
  • Frank said the modem hadn’t been sent out yet (perhaps with all the public holidays over the last few days), but he’d send it out now and it should arrive either next day or the following day.  It arrived this morning at 7am – just 14 hours after the phone call [WIN!]

Contact #3:

  • I plugged in the new modem (Thomson SpeedTouch ST536v6) and it installed itself (no installation CD required). The download speed is 6 times faster than my old modem (4MBit/sec). [WIN!]
  • But I wanted to set a password on the modem to reduce the chance of it getting hacked. I couldn’t find the IP address to get access to the Control Panel anywhere! Spent 60 minutes searching online before I finally found it on page 135 of the manual for the modem on the official website [FAIL!]
  • I was pretty annoyed and thought I better complain. I decided to try Telecom NZ’s Twitter account @TelecomNZ (which had auto-followed me when I mentioned the word “Telecom” in a tweet yesterday).
  • Jennie replied to my tweet within 4 minutes. I told her a few more details in another tweet and she promised to look into it [WIN!]
  • I just wanted to save the next person some trouble, but even just having my complaint acknowledged is huge. [WIN!]

So far so good.

Have you had a pleasant experience with Telecom since the rebrand?

I’d like to hear it. Share your story below.

A Successful Business Owner Told Me “No I Don’t Have A Website, In Fact I Don’t Do Any Advertising”

Earlier this week I needed to find a catery for my cat because we are going away for a few days in January.  A friend of mine is a vet and she recommended both Te Puna Cat Resort, and Top Katz Boarding Cattery (also in Te Puna).

I searched Google for each, and both times the Finda business directory delivered their phone numbers.  Neither business seemed to have a website of their own.

I called Te Puna Cat Resort first and because my call was outside normal hours (it is not unusual for catteries to operate only between 8am and 10am, and 4pm to 6pm), I left a message (which they still haven’t returned, now 3 days later).

I called Top Katz next and Kathy, the owner, answered. I told her the dates I needed and she said she had to go and check her appointment book in her office and would call back in 5 minutes. She called back in 3.  She did have room. I asked if she had a website (in the hope that I could build a website for her) she said:

“no, I don’t have a website, in fact I don’t do any advertising at all, and I’m always full.  I have clients who drive down from Auckland (more than a 2 hour drive each way) to drop off their cat, and then return to Auckland to fly out for their holiday.  This business started as a hobby for me and now it’s full time for me plus I had to get my husband to quit his job so he could help too.”


(I booked on the spot. I didn’t want my cat to miss out on this experience)

  • Imagine having so many regular clients you have to turn most new clients away.
  • Imagine having the freedom to choose how busy you want to be, how much business you want to handle
  • Imagine being so sort after that your clients feel like they are in an exclusive club that’s not taking on new members

You must be thinking: “Top Katz must be expensive”.


$10 a night.

The same price or cheaper than other catteries.

I have some ideas about how you can build your business into a customer magnet like this. Call me on (07) 575 8799, or email me.

– Sheldon.