Programmatic Advertising: Beginners Guide For Tauranga Based Businesses

[Image credit: Searchengineland.com]

What have you heard about Programmatic Advertising so far?

(Perhaps only by book summary from a few weeks ago?)

It seems like awareness is only now starting to grow here in New Zealand.

Some say that NZ is perhaps 3-5 years behind the rest of the world.

It’s time for us to catch up.

In fact, our timing is good, because getting involved now has the benefit of us accessing a much more mature system. The rest of the world has been removing the bugs for us!

I have come to believe that Programmatic Advertising is about to explode in New Zealand, so I’m looking for a handful of Tauranga based businesses that would like my help to get started.

Enquire Now

At the bottom of this page in an enquiry form, but first, let’s answer questions you might be wondering right now.

Q: “What is Programmatic Advertising?”

Continue reading “Programmatic Advertising: Beginners Guide For Tauranga Based Businesses”

Programmatic Advertising: The Successful Transformation to Automated, Data-Driven Marketing in Real-Time, by Oliver Busch

This book has the honour of being the most expensive e-book I’ve ever purchased.

US$73.85.

Ouch.

I had just heard that Programmatic Advertising was about to explode in New Zealand and I wanted a definitive introduction, and this book promised to be it.

In the free preview I could see that every chapter had 2 or 3 different authors for a total of 45 authors.

That must be where the cost of the book adds up!

But actually, on the very last page it says that the authors waived their fees, and the proceeds are going to a charity called the Children’s Shelter Foundation.

Anyway, the book delivered what it promised.

Interestingly, this book doesn’t provide a concise definition, of what Programmatic Advertising actually is, so I’ve put my own together from a variety of sources.

What is “Programmatic Advertising”?

  • Programmatic Advertising is a way to deliver digital advertising to the right person, at the right time in the right place
  • It is the algorithmic purchase and sale of advertising space in real time, using a vast network of hi-speed machines and software to automate the buying, placement, and optimisation of media inventory via a bidding system
  • Therefore, advertisers are able to tailor a specific message to a specific person to maximise the opportunity to convert exposure to an ad into an action that the advertiser wants the person to take

Continue reading “Programmatic Advertising: The Successful Transformation to Automated, Data-Driven Marketing in Real-Time, by Oliver Busch”

70 Ways to Advertise: Advertising You Can Try Next

This post was originally published on 27 Jan 2010 and updated on 16 Aug 2018.

advertising-to-try-icons
With so many options, where do you start?

Just need a list of advertising to try for your business?

Online Advertising

01. Build a website for your business
02. Build a campaign specific mini-website for your business
03. Create Text Ads using Google Adwords
04. Display advertising (banner ads, video ads)
05. Programmatic advertising (serving your ad to an individual on their smartphones at just the right time, when they are in just the right geographical location)
06. Organic Search Engine Optimisation
07. Improve your Google Maps listing
08. Email Marketing / E-newsletters
09. SPAM (unsolicited email is illegal in many countries)
10. Online Directories (eg YellowPages online and country-wide business directories)
11. White papers / e-books
12. Blogging
13. Facebook Page (or Group)
14. LinkedIn
15. Experiment with other Social Networking sites like Twitter, Pinterest etc
16. Contribute to Special interest forums (eg Google Groups)

One-On-One

Continue reading “70 Ways to Advertise: Advertising You Can Try Next”

9 Ways To Increase Your Volume Of New Business Enquiries

1. Take a fresh look at what you say

  • Review (and improve) what you say about your business and your services
  • On The Phone:
    • Who answers the phone?
    • What do they say?
    • How are calls transferred?
    • How are messages recorded?
    • What’s the hold music?
    • How could the menu options be improved?
  • In Person:
    • How do you record interactions with prospects and clients?
    • What do you and your team wear?
    • How do you follow up?
    • What action do you ask them to take next?
    • How does your team answer the question “what do you do?”
  • On Your Website
  • In Advertising
    • What is the secret sauce of your business?
    • Why does it exist?
    • Why is it important?
    • Do you lead with your logo, or a headline that states the benefits of your service?

Continue reading “9 Ways To Increase Your Volume Of New Business Enquiries”

Top TV Advertising Tips For Better TV Ads

tv-advertising

You may think that a television commercial is unreasonably expensive for a small business, but the actual cost might surprise you.

The price will vary depending on:

  1. The size of the television market (depending on the area)
  2. The time slot
  3. The popularity of the show you choose

However, as a general guide, TV advertising costs:

  • Big cities: probably run between $5,000 and $10,000 a month
  • Smaller cities might charge around $1,000 – 2,000 a month
  • Smaller towns, you might be able to run an advertising campaign for as little as $500 a month

Continue reading “Top TV Advertising Tips For Better TV Ads”

Cold Calling: 3 Tips To Generate New Business With A Cold Call

Cold calling can be intimidating to do, but it can be an effective way to reach new clients and increase business.

Cold calling is the process of contacting prospective customers who do not expect to be hearing from you.

You can use this call to explain what your business offers and how it can help the person or business on the other end of the line.

You are looking for a win-win. They win because they get what they need. You win because you make your sale.

happy-call

1. Do Your Homework

  • When calling businesses or people you think might be interested in your services, take the time to find out some information about them before calling.
  • Try a simple Google search or looking on Linkedin.
  • If the company you’re getting in touch with has a website, looking through their “about us” section will give you a lot of helpful information.
  • This research will really help you target your pitch to the individual you’re reaching, making your call much more effective.
  • This process will take time, but in the end you’ll have more success making a smaller number of well-planned calls than many identical calls to people you know nothing about.

2. Relate to Their Needs

  • The best way to get people to listen to you receptively is to start out by relating to their needs.
  • Instead of beginning your call with a long description of your company and its services, start with a question.
  • If you run a recruiting business, for example, you could ask a company if they need help finding good, reliable employees.
  • If you run advertisements, you could ask a company if they would like to increase their sales.
  • Then you can introduce how your business can help to meet their needs.
  • Throughout the conversation, keep the focus on their needs and on helping them.
  • This will be easier if you’ve done your research on the company and what their goals are.

3. Don’t Give Up

  • Cold calling can be tough.
  • You’re likely to contact many people who are not interested in listening to you.
  • Stay patient, and keep trying.
  • It may take dozens of calls to find one new client, but at the end of the day you’ll still be generating new business.
  • And remember to always stay polite and friendly.
  • An upbeat tone and good manners will go a long way to keeping people on the other end engaged in the conversation.

Your Thoughts?

Have your say in the comments below.

Radio Interviews: Getting One And How To Prepare

radio-interviewRadio interviews can be a fantastic way to spread awareness of your business to a wider audience.

And perhaps best of all, they’re free!

They will, however, require some effort to organize and prepare for.

1. How to get the interview in the first place

This is the hardest part.

Remember not to approach the interview as an advertisement, but rather as something that will interest and benefit radio listeners. As a business owner, you are in a position to comment on your industry.

Think about what kind of audience will be interested in your business.

Look into local radio and whether they have any segments relevant to what you have to say.

Many radio shows will have talk sections on business or local news.

Once you have a radio show in mind, you need to get in touch with the host or producers.

Look at the station’s website for contact details. You can try calling or emailing.

Radio hosts are busy people, so you may need to politely follow up to ensure that they notice your pitch.

Whatever mode of contact you choose, include a description of yourself and your business. Then convey why talking to you will be interesting for their listeners.

What new ideas do you have to talk about?

Or how can you help their listeners find better deals or services?

You may also want to include a list of questions they can ask you, making the potential interview even easier for them.

2. How to prepare and make the most of your radio interview

Make sure to prepare for your interview.

Think of answers to the questions you provided, but don’t assume the radio host will stick to the list.

Think if there are any tricky questions the host might ask and how you might answer.

A good idea is to have a friend or family member do a practice interview with you, so you’ll have polished answers ready.

Remember that the appearance of confidence and a sense of humor will get you far.

You should also think about the key message you want to send.

What do you want listeners to remember about you and your business?

Then make sure that you refer back to this key point more than once, and your audience will certainly remember it and you.

3. Ensure you thank the radio host afterward

After your interview, make sure to send a thank-you note or email to the host.

Radio shows have a lot of time to fill, and they may ask you to come back again one day!

Your Thoughts?

Have your say in the comments below.

The Power of Posters: 3 Key Principles For Advertising Your Business Services With Posters

posters-to-advertise-businessPosters can be a great form of advertising for 4 main reasons:

  1. They are cheap to reproduce in high volumes
  2. Easy to produce (lots of printers/copy shops to choose from, or print on your own printer)
  3. Highly visible, they make an impact
  4. You choose the location, so you can target your customers

Here’s a quick guide to help you get the most out of poster advertisements:

1. Be Bold

  • To draw people’s attention, the focal point of your poster should be a large image. Think about the services you offer and what best represents those services.
  • If you run a restaurant, a picture of your signature dish would be great.
  • Alternatively, you can think of representing a need your potential customer will relate to.
  • If you are a massage therapist, you might choose a picture that shows stress or soreness, then state that your business will help with that need.
  • A bold headline can also draw attention. Keep it relatively short so that people can read it easily.
  • If you can, have the poster printed in color

2. Keep It Simple

  • A poster is not the place to list all the details of your business and services.
  • Your goal should be to attract the attention of people walking by and enable them to find your business later.
  • Keep the text limited to a simple, attention-grabbing headline, a small blurb or catchphrase, and your website and phone number.
  • Adding too much text will make your poster cluttered and difficult to read.
  • Less information in a larger font will draw the eye and be easier to remember.

3. Location, Location, Location

  • The great thing about posters is that you can hang them anywhere.
  • Think about your target customers and what locations they might frequent.
  • If you run a dog walking business, you could hang posters at local veterinarians and pet stores.
  • If you offer tutoring services, you could try posting at schools or at cafes that draw in students.
  • If you’d like to hang your poster at another business, make sure you ask first.
  • Many small businesses will allow you to post advertisements on a bulletin board.
  • Post offices also usually have bulletin boards where you could pin your poster.
  • And look out for community bulletin boards in commercial areas.
  • Of course, you can also tape your poster around telephone poles in the neighborhood around your business.
  • As you hang more posters, more and more people will recognize your name.

What do you think?

Have your say in the comment below.

Direct Mail Tips: What To Consider Before Sending Addressed Mail

Are the following statements true for you?

  • You have a message you want to send out to 50 – 500 potential clients/customers
  • You have a contact name and postal address
  • Timeliness is not an issue. If it takes your audience a few days, or weeks or even months before they take action, that’s ok

If you answered yes to the above statements, perhaps direct mail is a good choice for you.

I just want to be clear, when I talk about “direct mail”, I’m talking about a letter (maybe just a few pages) in an envelope with the recipients name and address printed on the front.

I’m not talking about glossy/colourful items that have been commercially printed.

mail-man

There are 3 reasons why sending a direct mail might be a better choice than alternatives such as a calling a meeting, making a phone call or sending an email:

  1. Scale
  2. Tangibility
  3. Attention

1. Scale

With direct mail you can communicate with a huge audience. 100 people. 1000 people. 10,000 people. It’ll only cost you about $1-$2 each. If you can make an average of $5 per letter you send out, you are making money.

2. Attention

Seeing an envelope in your in-tray with your name on it, ripping open the envelope and seeing your name at the top, and reading a message written for you, that’s personal. That gets your attention.

It has almost zero chance of not being opened. Can you say that about any other form of advertising?

3. Tangibility

You get to feel the paper in your hands. It exists. A whole lot of complicated logistics got it to you. You can throw it on your desk, and it’ll be there waiting for you later. If you delete an email, however, it’s gone. Out of sight, out of mind. Email is cheap. A letter has much more value.

3 More Direct Mail Tips:

  • Personalise the letter heavily with the receipients first name. Not just the envelope and internal address, put it in your headings and subheadings and 5 or 6 times in the body, and in the call to action at the end
  • Don’t use window envelopes. They look like bills and they don’t build up anticipation of something good. Also, they might not get opened until later in the month
  • Print your return address on the back. The letters that get returned can be removed from your database

Your thoughts?

Have your say in the comments below.

Billboard Advertising Tips: 3 Questions To Ask Yourself Before Your First Billboard Ad

Billboards can be fun. Billboard can be boring. Billboards can be noticeable. Billboards can be easy to ignore. Billboards can really get your message out there. Billboards can be a waste of money.

hmmm, it really can go either way.

billboard-advertising-example

Here are 3 questions to ask yourself if you are considering a billboard ad for your business

1. “Is broadcasting with outdoor advertising to the general public really the best way to get my message to my target client?”

If you know the profile of your target clients pretty well, then crunch some numbers and work out how much wastage there is.

For example if you’re selling insurance, then you could guess that:

  • 20% don’t care
  • 30% have enough cover and are not interested
  • 30% are loyal to their current provider
  • but the timing is right for 1%

Then you can estimate the size of the audience:

  • If the traffic is 20,000 cars per day
  • Your audience is 200 people per day (1%)
  • But only 25% of them might notice and read your billboard
  • So that leaves you with 50 people

Now let’s estimate the cost:

  • Your cost is $100/day for the billboard ($3k/month is about right)
  • So you are paying $2 per impression ($100/50 people)
  • 1% of those might take action and give you a call (industry average)
  • Bringing your cost-per-enquiry to $200 ($2/1%)
  • Your conversion from enquiry to sale is 20% (industry average)
  • Giving you a cost-per-sale of $1000

So, is the lifetime value of your customer more than $1000?

If so, congratulations, give billboard advertising a try!

If not, try something else.

2. “What state of mind is my audience in?”

Here’s what we know about public on the move in cars/trucks/bikes:

  • They are on the way to somewhere
  • They are busy, stressed in traffic, not in the mood to be sold to
  • They don’t have a pen or a free hand to write down a phone number or website address
  • They aren’t allowed to make a phone call whilst driving

Wow, this is seriously an unreceptive auidence. Can you see how the odds are stacked against you here?

One small positive is that we are creatures of habit. Those same people will probably be past your billboard tomorrow, and the day after and the day after that.

So at least you’ve got frequency on your side. A chance for your message to sink in a bit.

So, how can you get them to take action in this situation?

3. “What are the essential elements that my billboard must have?”

Your billboard should have these 4 components and these 4 components only:

  1. Headline
    • A huge headline (5 to 9 words) that asks a question, or
    • States the primary benefit of what you’re selling
    • (No crazy fonts. Make it super easy to read)
  2. Photo
    • One huge photo that has impact
    • Human faces are good
    • Something a bit unusual is good
    • Avoid stock photography if you can
  3. Your business name/logo
    • Small
    • Don’t take up room that the headline and photo might need to increase their impact
  4. State the action you want them to take
    • Either a phone number and/or website address

Your thoughts?

Have your say in the comments below.

Could An Infomercial Make You Serious Money? How To Create One For Your Business

The king of infomercials: Billy Mays
Billy Mays: Has sold millions of dollars of product via infomercial

Infomercials can be hilariously bad and can make you cringe but don’t forget about how they have the ability to turn people into millionaires.

If you didn’t know already, the world “infomercial” is a combination of the words “information” and “commercial”. Pretty clever huh? 🙂

In the industry they are also called “television direct response advertising”. I think “infomercial” is much better though, don’t you?

Imagine for a moment that you had an infomercial to sell your product or service…

You’ve got an overly-enthusiastic man with a beard and/or an equally enthusiastic middle-aged woman speaking straight into the camera and highlighting exactly why the people watching from home will change their lives with your product in your hands.

Examples of the best performing infomercials in the world

Billy Mays was the king of infomercials, here’s a compilation video of his best comercials:

What do you need to do to make your own infomercial?

To make that happen you need to know that infomercials are very expensive to produce in the first place. We are talking tens of thousands of dollars (even hundreds of thousands of dollars).

On your to-do list to make your infomercial happen you need to:

  • Hire a studio
  • Hire actors
  • Hire a director and script writer
  • Build a set
  • Hire videographers, editors and special effects masters
  • Buy a toll-free number
  • Hire logistics people to distribute

Or, just hire a specialist infomercial company to put this project together for you. They will take upfront fees plus a commission on every item they sell for you.

But once that’s all done and your infomercial video is created, non-prime time TV advertising is pretty cheap, and people with money to burn are up at all those strange hours of the night watching.

If your product solves a problem they have (or better yet, a problem they didn’t know they have until they see your product), then you could be laughing all the way to the bank!

Are Infomercials Better For Products or Services?

Definitely products. Products scale better (you can fill a warehouse), and they are non-perishable (if you don’t sell it today, you can sell it tomorrow).

What do you think?

Have your say in the comments below

In-Movie Product Placement: Could Your Brand Be Used Popular Movie Characters?

One of my favourites movies comes to mind when I think about in-movie product placement: iRobot with Will Smith.

You’ll see him personally use:

  • Converse’s Chuck Taylor All-Stars
  • Audi RSQ
  • FedEx
  • Tecate
  • JVC

irobot-product-placement-cons

For me, the product placements didn’t detract from the movie at all. Some of the zoom-ins were a bit cheesy I spose, but not too bad.

The challenge for you would be coming up with millions of dollars to make this happen for your product or service.

Some directors take a hard line and won’t compromise the art of their movie at all, others might be a bit more willing to have you decrease their budget.

You could try with TV dramas that are made near you, or documentaries or reality TV shows too.

8 Tips To Get Better Results From Your Trade Show or Expo Stand

1. All the best Trade Show booths gone? Only a few right at the back to choose from? Fine!

Don’t worry too much about your location.

You instinctively think that a high traffic area would be better, but don’t make that assumption.

Most visitors will walk around the entire trade show/expo. You’ll get a chance at making a connection wherever you are. So don’t stress about it. (And if you wait until the last minute you can get some really good discounts from the organisers!)

2. Say hi to everyone who walks past. Everyone. (And every time they walk past)

There’s a fine line between looking desperate, and being friendly and approachable.

But the simple act of saying hi has a profound psychological effect.

It taps in to a basic human need – the need for connection.   In response, most will turn and give your posters and branding a chance to speak to them.

3. Bring your hottest employees

Everyone likes a bit of eye candy at trade shows and expos. If they know your product inside out, all the better.

4. Minimise your branding, maximise the benefits you are offering

This may be hard to hear, but no-one really cares about your brand.  They only care about themselves and if you can help them.

So don’t make the classic mistake of branding the background of your booth with huge logos. The trick is to write benefit driven headlines and bullet points.

The purpose is to give walkers-by a snapshot of what you do so they can decide if they need your services.  This way, you get  the visitors who want the benefits you state in your headline and bullet points, to stop and talk to you, and everyone else walks away.

Good! That’s what you want!

5. Write notes on business cards as you collect them

Write a few notes on the back of prospects business cards to remind you who they are later.

You could record your impressions about how likely they are to become clients.

And for bonus points, write a note about what they told you about their business to jog your memory later, so you can personalise your follow up email to them.

6. Don’t just require a business card for the prize draw, have an entry form

This is a common mistake.

You think that just asking people to pop a business card into the fish bowl or entry box is easy right?

Yes, it’s easy for them, but it’s hard for you.

It’s hard for you to determine if those prospects are real candidates for new business.

It’s hard for you to avoid wasting time on those that aren’t.

So on your entry form (A6 size, in pads bound with plastic coils work really well) have space to staple their business card to the form (and provide a stapler), and ask them filtering questions about their needs.

For example “what brand of accounting software are you currently using?” (if you sell accounting software), “how many employees to you have” (if you are selling HR services), “what’s the #1 annoying thing about xyz?”

There is nothing worse than drawing the winner to find someone completely unsuited to being a client of yours.  What a waste!

In fact, I suggest you go through the entries and throw the unsuitable entries in the bin before you do the draw.

7. What should the prize for the prize draw be?

You could go with a voucher for discounts on your services, or you could go with something with a much wider appeal like an iphone.

I say cast the net wide by offering the later, and let your entry form do the filtering for you.

8. Follow up super-fast

Of all these tips, this one is the most important.

Have a follow-up plan in place before you go.

For example if it’s a 3 day trade show or expo, that night from your hotel, email the new contacts you made, just to say hi (you can sell to them later, this time you just want to stand out from the hundreds of people they met that day).  Or you might email the contact details to a staff member for sending out the next morning (using your email address).

One time I got a text message from an business banking rep just to say he enjoyed meeting me – within 5 minutes of leaving his booth! That made a huge impression.

What tips do you have to add?

Have you been to trade shows and expo’s? As an exhibitor? As a visitor? What have you seen or done that worked?  Write your thoughts in the comments below.

Need a Better Radio Ad? 4 Tips To Improve Your Radio Advertising

In a moment I will share with you 4 tips on how to write a radio ad that actually works. But first, I want you to think about radio advertising from your point of view as a member of the audience.

Q: Why do you listen to the radio?

  • Music?
  • Witty Commentary?
  • Advertising?
  • Because you like hearing the same weather report and news headlines every 15 minutes?

Q: Where are you when you listen to the radio?

  • In the car?
  • On your morning run or bike ride?
  • In the office?
  • On the toilet?

Q: What do you do when the ads come on?

  • Change the radio station?
  • “Zone out” while you wait for the music or chat to start again?
  • Listen carefully for the latest sales and bargains?

You can see that there are a million potential distractions that can prevent your advertising message getting through to your radio audience.

And radio is a mass-media form of advertising after-all, so there is a huge amount of wastage (I hate wastage!).

Your potential audience could be 10,000 people, but how many of those people are:

  1. Listening attentively…
  2. at that precise moment in time…
  3. that need what you are selling…
  4. and are motivated enough to take action?

Probably none.

If you ask a radio advertising sales person what it takes to generate business for you using radio advertising, they will tell you there are 2 things you need:

  1. High repetition/frequency
  2. Say your brand name heaps

That is complete bullocks!

They say “repetition” because they want you to buy more ads.

They say “brand name” because that’s what your boss is more likely to approve the ad because he loves to hear his brand name again and again.

As you can probably tell by now, I am not a fan of radio advertising and haven’t recommended it to any of my clients for years.  I’ve tried it several times, but it didn’t generate any results.

And if you’re not getting results from your advertising (or you don’t know how to measure them), then what’s the point? You might as well flush your advertising dollars down the toilet!

But this morning, whilst running, I heard a radio ad that had all the elements of success going for it.

I heard this radio ad once and I remembered these 4 important facts:

  1. The name of the business owner
  2. What he is offering
  3. How he distinguishes himself from the competition
  4. What should you do next if you want to contact him or find out more

Do you realise how amazing that is?  After a single exposure?

So what can we learn from this?

What do you have to do to write a radio ad like this that at least has a chance at generating results for you?

Here is your lesson for the day:

4 Essential Components of a Radio Ad

1. Target your audience with your opening sentence

The opening sentence is exactly like a headline in a newspaper. If you don’t like the headline you don’t read the article.  It’s the same with radio ads.  If the opening sentence doesn’t speak to you, you “zone out” and don’t listen to the rest of the ad.  At first, you might think that’s bad, but that’s great!  It means you speaking to your target audience directly, and people who aren’t interested are being filtered out.

2. Use the word “you” through-out your ad

This is just like speed dating.  You only have 30 seconds, so do you talk about yourself or do you talk about them?

You talk about them of course!

Don’t make the mistake of talking about you and your business “we do this, and we do that”. Borrrr-ring!

What do people care about more: themselves or what you are trying to sell them?

Themselves!

So talk about the listener, what they want, what they need, and use “you” and “your” constantly.

3. Distinguish yourself with a single fact

You’ve only got time to state 1 fact.

The amazing thing about this is that is the fact doesn’t have to be overly impressive, it just has to be distinctive.

In this example, Aaron said he was “one of NZ’s youngest celebrants”.  Amazing? No. Distinctive? Yes!

4. Make the call to action a website address

The #1 most common mistake in radio ads is stating a phone number as the call-to-action.

Phone numbers are too hard to remember! (Even word numbers eg 0800 CALL ME NOW). They might rattle around in your brain for a few seconds, but you know that by the time you find a piece of paper and a pen (or your cellphone), they will be gone. So you don’t bother.

A website address works because is probably uses the same brand name that was mentioned in the ad with a “.com” on the end of it. Easy to remember. Easy for your audience to type in when they next get to a computer (or remember days or weeks later!)

What do you think?

Have your say in the comments below.

Miniature Billboard Advertising: Give It A Try With These 4 Tips

Whilst driving downtown yesterday I spotted tiny billboards strapped to street light polls and road signage opposite a 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 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 the website mentioned. That’s the magic of repetition.

“Great, but are these billboards legal?”

Probably not. Your local Council probably has a bylaw which prohibits this sort of guerilla advertising.

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!

What do you think?

Have your say in the comments below.

Advertising: “But What Advertising Methods Will Work For MY Business?”

You might have read my list of 62 ways to advertise, but are these 2 questions on your mind right now?:

  1. Am I wasting money on the advertising I’m doing now?
  2. Which advertising methods will work for my business?

The advice you get when you ask this question will change depending on the incentives of the person you are asking.

Have you noticed that?

If you ask a Yellow Pages Sales Rep for their opinion they’ll say “Yellow Pages advertising”.

If you ask a website designer they’ll say “a new website”.

Those are just opinions and they don’t matter. The only opinion that matters is your clients.

Continue reading “Advertising: “But What Advertising Methods Will Work For MY Business?””

Should I Renew My Yellow Pages Listing For My Small Business?

Is that a questions you are struggling with right now?

Have you been advertising in the Yellow Pages hardcopy and/or online for years but now you’re thinking of cancelling?

Do you suspect you are wasting your money, but you are shit-scared that your business will completely dry up if you stop paying them thousands of dollars every year?

Snap out of it sucker.

The free one-liner with your phone number is all you need.

(Except if you’re a plumber. If you’re a plumber then buy a huge expensive ad because when older people have a plumbing emergency they panic, dig out a 3 year old copy of the Yellow Pages out of a drawer, and call number after number to find someone that can come right now.)

How To Find Out For Sure If Your Yellow Pages Advertising Is Not Working

Measure it.

  1. Ask every new customer how they heard about you
  2. Add up all the mentions of “Yellow Pages” in a year (or in a month and then multiply by 12)
  3. Divide that number by 4 (I’m assuming your conversion rate is 25%)
  4. Multiply that number by your average revenue per customer over a year
  5. Divide that number by 4 (I’m assuming your Net Profit is 25%)
  6. That’s how much Yellow Pages is worth to you to break even. Don’t spend a cent more than that. If the customer buys from you again next year, that’s your gravy to keep.

Eg For XYZ & Co:

  • 12 mentions per year
  • 12 / 4 (a conversion rate of 25%) = 3
  • $100 revenue x 3 = $300
  • $300 / 4 = $75 ad to break even in the first year

Eg for ABC & Co:

  • 120 mentions per year
  • 120 / 4 (a conversion rate of 25%) = 30
  • $1,000 revenue x 30 = $30,000
  • $30,000 / 4 = $7,500 ad to break even in the first year

So, if you’re not a plumber:

5 Reasons Why You Should Quit Advertising In The Yellow Pages (hardcopy)

  1. Just because you’ve been doing it for 10 years doesn’t mean that you should keep the momentum up. That momentum is in the wrong direction!
  2. Just because your competitors are doing it is not proof it works, it only means they are suckers too!
  3. Because 12 month contracts suck so bad. They put a huge amount of high pressure sales tactics into getting you to sign up because they know that you won’t bother measuring the effectiveness of the ads over the coming months because you fear that if you did, you will actually find out you wasted your money and you’ll feel like a fool, so you don’t bother, because you want to save yourself the embarrassment. No one likes to realise they made a huge financial mistake. And you can’t cancel anyway because it’s in print. And you don’t have to worry about it until next year anyway, so you forget about it.
  4. Because the amazing discounts that the sales reps offer you at the last minute when you just told them you want to cancel aren’t actually amazing, they are just a clever sales pitch. A 70% discount on advertising that doesn’t work isn’t going to make it work!
  5. Because you shouldn’t support an industry that prints millions of books with thousands of pages and dumps them on the doorsteps of millions of New Zealanders every year that didn’t ask for the books in the first place. It’s junk mail on an enormous ecologically-damaging scale

What about online Yellow Pages?

Why You Should Not Advertise In Online Yellow Pages

Because it’s a rip-off.

And it’s so easy to test and measure for yourself:

  1. Open up your webstats for the month and find any click throughs to your website from Yellow
  2. Divide that number by 10 (I’m assuming your visit to enquiry rate is 10%)
  3. Divide that number by 4 (I’m assuming your enquiry to sale conversion rate is 25%)
  4. Multiply that number by your average revenue per customer over a year
  5. Divide that number by 4 (I’m assuming your Net Profit is 25%)

Eg For XYZ & Co:

  • Cost: $60/month
  • 10 clicks per month
  • 10 / 10 (a visit to enquiry rate of 10%) = 1
  • 1 / 4 (a conversion rate of 25%) = 0.25
  • $100 revenue x 0.25 = $25
  • $25 / 4 = $6.25 is what the advertising is worth to you a month just to break even but you’re spending $60…

Eg for ABC & Co:

  • Cost: $80/month
  • 50 clicks per month
  • 50 / 10 (a visit to enquiry rate of 10%) = 5
  • 5 / 4 (a conversion rate of 25%) = 1.25
  • $1000 revenue x 1.25 = $1250
  • $1250 / 4 = $312.50 is what the ad is worth to you to break even and you’re spending $80… hooray! That is actually worth it in this example

You probably don’t need another reason, but I will share one theory with you.

I think that people are suspicious of ads or “promoted listings” on the Yellow Pages website.

They think to themselves “don’t get up in my face, I will decide who is best to serve me. My list of decision criteria does not include the item ‘whoever pays the most to be up in my face’ “.

There isn’t that level of distrust with a Google search because the ads are actually helpful. They are relevant. They are in context.

And just like Google Adwords, a fairer way for Yellow to offer you online ads would be to offer you the Cost-Per-Click model too. You could set your bid price and an algorithim could calculate who’s ad will show.

But you won’t see such an offer for Yellow because it makes it too easy for you to quit. You could run it for 1 day, or 1 week and spend $20 and you’d have enough information to decide to quit or not.

Yellow doesn’t like that. Yellow likes to lock you in for 12 months and works really hard at making sure you don’t measure effectiveness.

What do you think?

Have you recently quit and now feel good/bad about that decision?

Are you struggling with the decision right now?

Have your say in the comments below.

Is Your Blog Stale? How Not Updating Your Blog Can Damage Your Business

“When I look at your blog I can almost see the tumbleweed rolling through…”

Are visitors to your website thinking that?

If you have a blog section on your website, at some point you thought it was a good idea to get one.

You might call it your “news section” or your “article section”, they are all the same thing.

You were probably told one, or all, of these reasons.

3 Reasons Why Writing New Articles For Your Blog Is Good For Your Business

  1. “Your blog will get you better Google rankings for your website. Better rankings = more traffic = more sales”
  2. “Your blog will establish your credibility, expertise and leadership in your industry”
  3. “Your blog will keep content flowing to your customers and potential customers and remind them to buy from you”

They are all great reasons.

So why don’t you keep it updated?

How long has it been since your last article?

  • A month?
  • 3 months?
  • A year?
  • More than a year?

The longer it’s been, the worse you look.

In fact, a stale blog can actually damage your business.

4 Reasons Why A Stale Blog Can Damage Your Business

  1. Gives a bad impression: It looks like you start things but don’t finish them. Potential customers might assume you’ll treat them like that too
  2. Lowers trust: Customers might assume that if your articles/news/blog is out of date then other info on your website might be out of date too – this lowers trust
  3. Less Google love: Google loves fresh content, without fresh content, Google will visit your site less often
  4. You are easy to forget: Subscribers will forget about you. It might have taken just one more article to tip a potential customer over the edge to make a sale, but you didn’t write one today, so you’ll never know

If I’m considering purchasing a product or service and I see a blog on their website, I’ll click on it to check when the last article was written.

If it was written months ago, or even years ago, that’s a bad sign, and a huge red mark against them.

So why did you stop updating it?

3 Reasons Why You Stopped Updating Your Blog

  1. Because you are too busy fighting fires every day, you have no time to spend 1 hour, or 2 hours or longer, just sitting there and writing
  2. Because you forgot. You didn’t schedule it in your calendar so it doesn’t exist in your list of work to do
  3. Because the longer it’s been since your last article, the harder it is to write a new article today because it feels like you have the burden of writing all the future articles on your shoulders too

How You Can Have Fresh Blog Articles Written In Just 15 minutes

Wouldn’t it be great if you could have a new article on your blog every 2 weeks and it only took you 15 minutes?

You can!

It’s a new service I’m offering and here is how it works:

1. Dan Necklen or I will call you and interview you for 15 minutes

2. From this interview we’ll write a 200 – 400 word article that has the following 4 components:

  • A headline that contains phrases that customers may be searching Google for (this is sooooo important)
  • With content that is interesting and puts concepts in layman’s terms (no jargon allowed!)
  • With content that demonstrates your leadership in the industry and quality of your service/products (hooray!)
  • A call to action (we’ll let your customers know what they must do next)

3. We put the article live once it’s written (crediting you as the author because we interviewed you)

And the coolest thing is, you’ll feel like a rock star being interviewed for e-news!

This is your 15 minutes of fame. Take it.

Awesome! How Much Does It Cost?

The price for this service is $240+gst every 2 weeks. Every 2 weeks you get an new article for your blog.

Imagine if each article could contribute even just one sale worth $2000 sometime over the next 12 months. Imagine getting to the end of a 12 month period with 26 articles that can do that… (that’s like $52k)

Call (07) 575 8799 and we can get started with a 4 session trial.

Cheers,

Sheldon Nesdale
Email: sheldon@marketingfirst.co.nz

P.S. Here are 3 examples of articles we’re written:

Quickguide to LinkedIn Part 2: How To Milk LinkedIn – The 8 Most Important Cows

(Missed part 1? Read it first)

Firstly, it’s important to note that “100% completion” is your starting point.

That’s right, spend a few hours and just get all the basics done and out of the way until you score 100% completion.

Then come back here and read the rest of this article.

The 8 Most Important Components (or “Cows”) of LinkedIn For You To Milk

1. Customise your profile address url

2. Join at least 10 groups

  • Join a set of groups that paint a picture of your interests
  • Include several dedicated to your city, several to your country, and a few international ones
  • Don’t bother reading the discussions in those groups. Don’t bother starting discussions yourself.  Just join to get the “badges” on your profile

3. Be creative with your job titles

  • Have some fun with them
  • Poke fun at yourself
  • Be a little outrageous
  • I’ve created a website that lists all of New Zealand hot pools so my job title for that is “Head Hot Hydro Honcho”.
  • Stupid? Yes. Silly? Yes. Entertaining and different that might brighten someones day even for a moment? Yes.

4. Be creative with your job descriptions

  • Use numbers to made things concrete Eg “Developed 47 business plans, created 53 advertising plans, wrote 54,327 words for newspaper ads”
  • Take a guess at the numbers rather than painstakingly count, and don’t round them off
  • The longer ago a role was for you, the more you should simplify your experience there to a single project, or the biggest impact you made, or a long lasting improvement you made. Tell a story
  • Say something controversial
  • Take a stand on an issue
  • Wake people up
  • For example, in one of my roles I say “When clients come to me for a new website, I don’t give a damn about what they want, I only care about what THEIR customers want.”
  • The worst you can do is be boring. The world is full of boring. Don’t add to it.

5. Write your summary last

  • Weave together elements of your past, your attitude in the present, and your plans and ambitions for your future

6. Be the first to connect

  • Every time you meet someone face-to-face (or talk to them for a reasonable time over the phone), find them on LinkedIn and request a connection
  • Do not use the default message which is “I’d like to connect with you”. It requires zero effort and everyone knows it, so it cheapens your effort to connect and looks like spam
  • You could make a reference to how you met, repeat something they said to you, or thank them for a specific piece of advice or an idea they had, or simply say “Hi firstname!

7. Don’t add people you don’t know

  • If you get requests from people you don’t know, don’t add them
  • They are just playing a game to get more connections than other people
  • And worse than that, by adding them you are “vouching for them” and they may use your endorsement to get to others in your network. Not cool

8. Write recommendations for people you want recommendations from

  • Testimonials/recommendations are powerful stuff. They help people trust you and get to know you
  • It’s easy to get them, just write them for others and that creates pressure to reciprocate without you even asking
  • I’m not a big fan of pushing the “ask for a recommendation” button, but do it if things are moving too slow for you in this area

For bonus points (or bonus milk)

There are a few bonus sections that are a little hidden in the navigation that you could try. Like “Projects” and endorsing “Skills”.

For bonus points you could start discussions in the Groups you join (I might write a whole blog article just on that one day). A few ideas to start with:

  • Write an engaging headline. Headlines that ask questions are the best
  • Make it short. Articles on LinkedIn are more about generating discussion than you sharing your wisdom
  • Finish the article by asking people to add their opinion or share their point of view

Do You Use LinkedIn?

  • Did you find this article useful? Say so in the comments below
  • Got value out of other sections I haven’t mentioned? Like the jobs section? Write your ideas in the comments below

“I Think It’s Too Long, Can You Make It Shorter?” A Phrase I Dread

I do quite a bit of copywriting:

  • email proposals
  • email newsletters
  • sales pages on websites
  • blog articles
  • direct response letters
  • and the occasional fax (I’m joking about the fax, it’s not the nineties anymore)

The pieces of work I create are as long as they need to be and often include all of the following components:

  • Headline: A headline dripping with benefits that leaves the reader hungry to read the rest
  • Highly personalised: In email newsletters I like to mention the recipients first name 7 times. In direct mail my record is mentioning their first name 16 times
  • Chatty and friendly: Written in a one-on-one style as if the two of us were sitting down over a coffee and having a chat. This decreases the distance between you and I
  • Compelling content: That tells a story and focuses on what you get out of the deal. It even addresses your objections before they form in your mind
  • A limited time offer: “Respond before 5pm Friday”, and/or a limited number of customers “Only 10 positions available”
  • A call to action: Eg choose between 3 packages with ascending prices and value. “Call 0800 123 123 to secure your position”

I put my heart and soul into this work.

I work on it like it’s a piece of art. It just has to be perfect before I’m happy to release it on the world.

And time and time again this work pays off, because it generates the responses/action/sales goals that I set for those pieces.

But sometimes, a client comes back and says that dreaded phrase “I think it’s too long, can you make it shorter?”

arrrrgghh

There are 2 reasons why clients say “I think it’s too long”:

  1. Because they are not in the target audience (I’m not trying to sell your services back to you, I’m selling them to your prospects. It’s no wonder you aren’t captivated)
  2. They are bored of simple explanations of what they do. This is what prospects that have never heard of you need, but you might be bored of simplifying your story

Because the fact is, if something is interesting to an individual, they will keep reading and keep reading and keep reading.

They are thirsty for the content, and they can’t stop because it tastes like cool water as they read.

Most novels take 4, 6, 8, 10 hours to read, right?

If you had just started a novel by your favourite author that you’d been waiting months to get hold of, and I told you that I had a one page summary in a sealed envelope and I tried to give it to you would you yell at me “Keep that away from me!! Leave me to read my book in peace!”

Sure you would.

Length isn’t important.

It’s the journey.

It’s the story.

So the next time you read an article in a newspaper, or an email newsletter, or draft copy from someone who is helping you write an email newsletter, and your first thought is “I think it’s too long”. Check yourself.

Are you in the target audience?

If not, keep your opinion to yourself.

5 Questions For Small Business Owners to Think About Today

  1. Compete against yourself
    • Pretend there is a brand new competitor opening next door to you, what product and service bundles should he start selling?
    • To who?
    • Don’t wait for this to happen, create those bundles and target those customers yourself today
  2. Why you?
    • What are the top 3 reasons customers should choose you?
    • Put those 3 reasons in all your customer touch points
    • Can’t think of any? Pack it in and go home
  3. Your website:
    • Don’t have a website yet? Build yourself a website today for $141.50
    • Got a website? What 3 improvements should you make today?
    • Every business on the planet should have it’s own website. Even a crap one beats not having one at all
  4. Radio Ads:
  5. Yellow Pages:
    • Do you advertise in the Yellow Pages hardcopy and/or online?
    • Cancel it today.
    • You know you are wasting money so why do you renew every year? Snap out of it sucker
    • The free one-liner with your phone number is all you need

Small Business Website: Do It Yourself For Only $141.50

If you don’t have a website for your small business, then take some comfort in the fact that you are not alone.

Did you know that only about one third (to one half) of New Zealand businesses have a website?

The 5 Most Common Objections I Hear From Owners:

When asked why they don’t have a website, owners typically come up with one or more of the following objections.

(Have similar thoughts gone through your head? If so, it’s time to update your thinking.)

1. “I don’t know how, I’m not good with computers”

  • Then learn. Or at least find a family member or staff member to take care of the basics.

2. “Websites cost too much”

  • Wrong. They can cost as little as $141.50+gst/year. I’ll tell you how in a moment.

3. “I don’t think I’ll get a return on the investment”

  • Wrong. A simple website is the best return on investment you can get. It beats all other advertising options. And the payback gets better and better the longer you’ve got a website

4. “That’s not how customers choose a business”

  • Wrong. It may not be how you choose a business but it is the way that hundreds of thousands of New Zealanders do it. Plus more every day

5. “I’m too busy, I don’t have time to keep it updated”

  • Keep the content simple. Don’t do anything fancy. Delegate to family or staff.

The 4 Best Reasons To Have An Official Website:

Ask owners who do have a website why they do, you might hear things like…

1. “Our website is the official place where I own and control the content”

  • That’s right. No longer are you at the mercy of business directories like Finda who display your brand however they like

2. “Our website is the official place where the public can be confident and trust the info because they know we wrote it”

  • That’s right. Otherwise you are annoying potential customers by forcing them to use a business directory like Finda that has missing, incomplete or just plain wrong details. Wouldn’t it be better if they went to your official website instead?

3. “We noticed that the public are increasingly using the internet at home, at work and even on their phones wherever they are, to choose a business”

  • That’s right. Having your own website means you get to appear in search results and get a chance at being chosen. Isn’t that better than no chance at all?

4. “We’d prefer to have an upset customer contact us via our website rather than complain publicly on Facebook or a business directory”

  • That’s right. Not having an official website effectively forces upset customers to vent their frustration on platforms like Facebook where you have zero control and you won’t hear about the complaint until it’s too late to fix it, or never hear about it at all.

What You Should Do Next:

If you are a small business owner and you don’t have a website yet, here’s the 5 steps you should take next:

The 5 Simple Steps To Take If You Want An Official Website

1. Go to 1stdomains.co.nz and purchase your website address for $21.50+gst/year

  • Get a .co.nz (not a .net, or .net.nz or anything else!)
  • Set the DNS settings to ns1.ramsu.co.nz and ns2.ramsu.co.nz

2. Go to the website hosting company Ramsu.co.nz and purchase hosting for $120+gst/year

  • Type in the domain name you purchased
  • Create a database using the admin panel and write down the username and password

3. The next day, go to WordPress.org and download the latest version of their free website building software

  • WordPress is high quality Content Management System that is easy to use. If you get stuck, any problem can be solved with a Google search
  • Follow the set up instructions written on WordPress.org called “the famous 5 minute install

4. Login for the first time and start writing content

  • Keep it simple. No fancy stuff. Just the basics that prospective customers want to know
  • Phone number + address + Google Map + your products and services + testimonials. That’s it.
  • If you check your email once a week, don’t you dare put your email address on your website

5. Register your new website address with Finda.co.nz (and a few other free business directories too)

  • This just gives Google a kick to announce that your website is up and running

Still Too Hard?

Then ask a family member or staff member to help.

They teach this stuff in primary school now, so find a 10 year old and get on with it.

Email Marketing: 7 Reasons Why It’s Cool, 3 Reasons It Sucks, 7 Tips To Make It Work

Why are you attracted to the idea of “email marketing”?

7 Reasons Why Email Marketing Seems Cool

  1. Because sending emails is cheap (or free). It’s a cheap way to keep in contact with your customers
  2. It’s scalable – if you double or triple the number of customers on your email database there is no extra effort for you
  3. Because it reminds your customers about what you can do for them – it keeps your brand in their minds, it builds familiarity, relationship, trust
  4. Because you could sell something directly
  5. Because it’s fast. You can get your first response within minutes
  6. Because it’s measurable. You can test various headlines and offers
  7. Because it’s easy. You can do it yourself

3 Reasons Why Email Marketing Actually Sucks

  1. Because most email software is actually hard to use (despite what they claim!)
  2. Because it’s hard coming up with ideas for new content every week/month (exhausting!)
  3. Because building up your list of subscribers is slow (and why do people keep unsubscribing anyway? Annoying!)

7 Components to Make Your Email Marketing Work For You

My philosophy with email marketing is very simple:

  1. Make it obvious why someone should subscribe
    • Don’t expect sign-ups just because your email newsletter exists!
    • Provide at least 3 reasons why they should subscribe. If you can’t think of 3 good reasons, pack up and go home, email marketing is not for you
  2. Make your emails really plain
    • Which types of emails do spend most attention to: Ones with fancy graphics and big logos, or ones that are plain text? Plain text! You always read those first and leave the fancy newsletters for last, if you have time
    • No header graphics. No logo. You have your “from” address and your email signature to remind them of your brand. That’s enough. (Remember, this email is about them, not about you!)
  3. Make your emails really personal
    • Make the email a 1 on 1 conversation between you and your customer/client
    • Use the recipients first name at least 5 times. Not just “Hi Bob” at the beginning!
  4. Make your emails as long as they need to be
    • State your point in the subject line, expand on the point in the body, close with a call to action
    • Tell a story that can be read from start to finish
    • Use subheadings and bullet points so readers can scan for things that interest them
    • Include a photo or 2 if you can. Even better, a short 30 second video summarising your message
  5. Make it really easy to subscribe. Make it even easier to unsubscribe
    • Create links to your sign-up form everywhere: on your website, in your email signature etc
    • Put your unsubscribe link clearly at the bottom, or even better, as the very first sentence of your email – you only want people who are really interested in what you have to say so let the others go
  6. Brainstorm 12 months worth of content ideas before you send your first email
    • Get your friends, family and existing customers to help you generate a huge list of ideas
  7. Make your emails really cheap
    • My favourite email marketing software is MailChimp. It’s not super-easy to use but it is super cheap: completely free up to 1000 subscribers and 6000 emails per month

Your Thoughts?

So have you tried email marketing yet? If not, why not?

If so, are you getting the results you want?

What do you think of these tips?

Share your thoughts below.

Made to Stick by Chip & Dan Heath

My notes on “Made to Stick” by Chip & Dan Heath

S.U.C.C.E.S.s: Simple, Unexpected, Concrete, Credible Stories41hMTwhl6IL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_

Simplicity

  • Not dumbed down or sound bites
  • Find the core fo the idea
  • “The curse of knowledge” if you say 3 things you say nothing
  • Simple = core + compact, forced prioritisation
  • To make a profund idea compact use flags – “tap the existing terrain of your audience”
  • Schema’s are a collection of generic properties of a concept or category
  • Higher level schemas are composed of other schemas. Analogies are great
  • The goal is to write a proverb

Purple Cow by Seth Godin

My notes on “Purple Cow” by Seth GodinpurpleCow

  • Remarkable marketing is the art of building things worth noticing right into your product. If it isn’t remarkable, its invisible
  • The Advertising Age
    • Before: Word-of-Mouth
    • During: Ever increasing consumer prosperity, and endless consumer desire. Simple formula: Advertise on TV & mass media = increased sales
    • After: Word-of-Mouth with new networks at rocket speed

I Earn 540 Dollars Per Month From A Blog About Hot Pools, Could You Do The Same With A Topic You Are Passionate About?

Almost 2 years ago I wrote an article called “Should You Sell Space On Your NZ Website For Banner Advertising?” in which I suggested you shouldn’t.

2 years later I haven’t change my mind. If it’s your core business then your website should focused on attracting new customers, and making sales, not earning a few dollars a month in advertising revenue at the cost of distracting your customers.

Blogs are a different story however.

7 Steps to Earning Income From A Passion

  1. Find a topic you are deeply passionate about (this will give you the energy to keep going)
  2. Be determined to write at least one short blog article per month
  3. Your articles should contain useful information for other people interested in your niche. Eg lists, your findings on micro research projects, reviews and comparisons, interviews etc
  4. Build up your audience by sticking to your niche and becoming a valuable resource
  5. Find similar blogs/articles and write useful comments on them that contain a link back to your blog
  6. Grow your audience to about 300 visits per day
  7. Monetise

I create 2 or 3 new blogs like this every year. I’ve had some real duds (like ChickenCoops.co.nz) but I’ve had some big winners (like www.LoveOneDaySales.co.nz and www.NZHotPools.co.nz).

Today I want to tell you the story about NZHotPools.co.nz (which simply lists all the thermal hot pools around New Zealand) and tell you exactly how much advertising revenue I generate from it every year/month/day, so you can figure out if you could do the same with your idea for a blog.

NZHotPools.co.nz Monthly Webstats:

  • 15,000 Visits per month (12,000 absolute unique visitors)
    • 500 visits per day
  • 48,000 PageViews per month
    • 1600 Visits per day
  • $540 per month revenue
    • $18 per day
    • Which is $36 revenue per 1000 visits
    • Which is 28 visits to earn $1

In this game, it is mainly about PageViews. Visits are important too but “Absolute Unique Visitors” are not.

There is a lot of confusion out there around these terms, so if you need a refresher on the definitions read: Difference Between Unique Visitors, Visitors, Visits, Page Views, Hits. And Why You Should Care

 

The hard part is getting an audience. Once you have an audience, monetising that audience is easy.

The 4 Ways to Sell Advertising Space On Your Website/Blog:

1. Direct Sales

  • Direct Sales to businesses in your niche is the most lucrative but takes the most time
  • It involves writing a list of prospects and making lots of phone calls to find out who the decision maker is to establish a relationship and to get permission to email them with your advertising rates from time to time
  • Be creative with what you are selling: Eg banner ads, access to your email newsletter, sponsored blog articles, special mentions, featured businesses
  • You can charge $5/$10/$20 CPM (Cost-Per-1000-Impressions) so for NZHotPools this is about $300/month
  • If you use WordPress for your blog there are plugins that let you schedule the ads, or you can use http://www.google.com/doubleclick/

2. Google Adsense

  • This is the easiest to manage. Decide where you will setup your advertising panels, and just generate the Adsense code and copy/paste it in. You’re done.
  • Google Adsense calculate the best text-based ads to show your audience depending on the content of the webpage, the advertisers bids, and more recently, the visitors online behaviour and profile. Every bit of data they can use to generate more clicks which earns more revenue for you and for them
  • On average you can expect to earn $1 per 300 visits, so for NZHotPools this is about about $50/month

3. TPN “The Performance Network” www.tpn.co.nz

  • They require you to have 20,000 unique visitors per month though, so they might not want to work with you until you’ve grown your blog to that level (they bent the rules for me a little bit because I already had an account with them)
  • They do display ads for big NZ brands like Kiwibank, NZPost, ASB etc
  • They don’t have sophisticated technology to calculate the optimum ads to show, it’s just mass advertising rather than targeted advertising
  • You can expect $1 per 300 visits so for NZHotPools this is about about $50/month

4. Affiliate Income

  • An affiliate programme is where you earn a commission on every sale you make for the advertiser. Eg you could install an Amazon book widget for your topic and you’ll earn a dollar or two everytime someone purchases that book from Amazon thanks to your link
  • Unfortunately, it is vary rare to find New Zealand businesses with Affiliate Programmes and your New Zealand audience is uncomfortable when they click on a link and find themselves on a USA based website so they are unlikely to whip out their credit card
  • NZHotPools.co.nz doesn’t generate any affiliate income, but www.LoveOneDaySales.co.nz does generate a little

How Much Advertising Should You Switch On As Your Website/Blog Grows?

As your website/blog grows, you gradually switch on more advertising. For example, my rules are:

  • 0 – 300 visits per day:
    • Either no advertising at all or just 1 or 2 Google Adsense panels to break the ice
    • Start collecting email addresses from your audience
    • Monthly Revenue: $0 – $30
  • 300 – 500 visits per day:
    • Looking promising
    • Start Selling ads Directly to businesses in your niche
    • Monthly Revenue: $300 – $500
  • 500 – 1000 visits per day:
    • You’re on to a winner
    • Modify Google Adsense positioning to maximise revenue
    • Get more aggressive with your Direct Sales
    • Monthly Revenue: $500 – $1000
  • 1000+ visits per day:
    • Re-evaluate positioning of everything
    • Turn on TPN & investigate Affiliate opportunities (if any)
    • Monthly Revenue: $1000+

Fascinate: Your 7 Triggers to Persuasion and Captivation by Sally Hogshead

My notes on “Fascinate: Your 7 Triggers to Persuasion and Captivation” by Sally Hogsheadfascinate

Fascination Scale

  • Avoidance
    • You’ll take steps to avoid TV commercials
  • Disinterest
    • You might leave the room during a commercial break to grab a bite
  • Neutrality
    • You don’t really care if you watch the commercial or not. You’re not going to take steps to avoid it, or to watch it
  • Mild Affinity

    • If a commercial happens to pique your curiosity, you’ll watch. Otherwise, eh, whatever
  • Interest
    • Commercials entertain, at least the good ones
  • Engagement
    • You actively enjoy commercials. During Super Bowl, you pay more attention to the commercials than the game
  • Immersion
    • You go out of your way to watch commercials, even going online to search them out
  • Preoccupation
  • Obsession
  • Compulsion

Continue reading “Fascinate: Your 7 Triggers to Persuasion and Captivation by Sally Hogshead”

Money Back Guarantees: Should You Offer None, 30 Days, or 30 Years?

You may have heard that money-back guarantees are a good idea but you are not sure if they are right for your business?

Perhaps you are holding back because you are worried it’s going to cost you money handing out dozens of refunds, right?

Offering any kind of money back guarantee is better than offering none at all because the main two things that customers care about is:

  1. Price
  2. Risk

And a money back guarantee helps with both.

A money back guarantee reduces risk for the customer because:

  • It signals that you are confident about the quality of your product
  • It reduces their nervousness about making a bad purchasing decision
  • It goes beyond the normal offer of replacing the item if something goes wrong, because they can get their money back

A money back guarantee reduces the price for the customer because:

  • There is a cost for returning something for a refund: time. Knowing that you are able to get cash back for your trouble is better compensation than a replacement
  • Customers perception is: Price + money-back-guarantee = Free Trial. Free is a customers favourite price

These are all “up-front” factors that persuade a customer to buy in the first place. Which is great.

In fact, let’s just slap a number on it and say that offering a money back guarantee will generate 20% more sales for you.

But the real magic happens in the “tail-end”, a long time after the sale.

Let’s say you purchased the Ginsu 2000 never-needs-sharpening-can-cut-through-a-can knife with a 30 year money back guarantee.

And it’s year number 29 and you decide it’s crap. Do you ask for your money back? Hell no. For 4 reasons:

  1. You forgot about the 30 year money back guarantee anyway
  2. You can’t be bothered
  3. You feel you got your moneys worth any way
  4. You don’t want to impose or be a nuisance
  5. You’ve had it so long it feels like yours, you feel like the owner. This reduces the obligation of the people you bought it from

Yes, it’s an extreme example but you get the idea. Let’s look at another:

Let’s say you purchased an ebook about Search Engine Optimisation for $19 with a 3 month money back guarantee.

It’s the 2nd month, and you only just got around to reading it and you decide it’s crap. Do you ask for your money back? Hell no. For 3 reasons:

  1. You forgot about the 3 month money back guarantee anyway
  2. You can’t be bothered
  3. You don’t want to impose or be a nuisance
  4. It’s in your possession and so you feel like the owner. This reduces the obligation of the author

Let’s just slap a number on it and say that you get 5% of customers that actually do go ahead and ask for their money back.

So to summarise, you are getting 20% more sales to get out 5% refunds… Ummm, that’s really good isn’t it?

Yes. Yes it is.

4 Ways to Make A Great Money Back Guarantee:

  1. Make the expiry really really long. The longer it is the more chance of the customer forgetting about it, or feeling like they are imposing by asking for their money back
  2. If a customer asks for their money back, provide it the same day. Don’t drag your feet and make them wait. You will impress them with your customer service, and this experience may trigger Word-of-Mouth so you might get new sales from people they talk too!
  3. Tell them up-front how to get one eg “To get your money back, just call us on 0800 xyz xyz and you’ll have your money back within 24 hours”. You could just provide an email form for them to request their money-back, but in this case, I advise putting up a small barrier for them and getting them to talk directly to you
  4. Arrange their refund over the phone, and when it’s finished and approved, at the last minute ask them why they asked for one. Their feedback might be valuable. Don’t ask this question upfront because it will make them feel more uncomfortable than they already are

What about services?

Money back guarantees can also work for services but you’ll have to go overboard with your offer Eg “If you are not happy with our car washing service we’ll redo it for free + give your money back”

What do you think about money back guarantees now?

What do you have to add to this? Will you give it a try for your business? What’s the most outrageous money-back guarantee you’ve ever seen?

Online Advertising In NZ: A Crash Course On How You Can Get Started Advertising Your Business Online in New Zealand

Have you noticed how much publicity the growth of online advertising has been getting lately?

If you are wondering:

  • “Am I missing out because I haven’t tried online advertising yet?” and
  • “How can I dip my toe in the water to see if online advertising is right for my business?”, then this crash course on online advertising is what you need

“What are the major formats of online advertising?”

There are 2 main formats:

  1. Text based ads
    • Very easy to setup
    • Very easy to change
  2. Display ads
    • Traditionally just “Banner Ads” but now includes rich media/interactive ads and video ads
    • Usually expensive to get graphic design and difficult and expensive to change
    • But, your best performing text-based ads can be converted to display ads very cheaply! (They look absolutely hideous, but they work really well)

“Where can we place our ads?”

In New Zealand there are 4 main places where it would be appropriate to put your ads:

1. Beside Google NZ Search results (“Google Adwords”)

  • Format: Text-based ads
  • In the right hand column, and sometime above search results
  • Very easy to set up
  • $1 per click would be average (highly competitive industry’s like finance or tourism will cost more)
  • Good targeting: You can specify a geographic target and your ads are displayed when people in those cities are searching for something related to your offer
  • Provides excellent data so you can just copy/paste your best performing ads to the next 3 ad networks

2. Websites that use Google Adsense

  • Format: Text-based ads and display ads
  • That have dedicated space on their website to earn revenue (like mine: LoveOneDaySales.co.nz)
  • Very easy to set up
  • Display Ads:
    • Very cheap CPM (Cost-Per-Thousand Impressions) because most people don’t bother creating display ads because it’s too hard = less competition for ad space = cheaper cost of advertising
    • Good reach – your ads would be popping up on random NZ websites all over the place – good for cheap brand recognition

3. Facebook

  • Format: Text-based ads with a single small image
  • Excellent targeting: you can specify exactly who your demographic is Eg Female 25-35 who live in the Tauranga area
  • But Facebook users are not there to click on ads, they are there to have fun and share their lives. Therefore effectiveness can be very poor
  • Cost-Per-Click varies greatly eg $1-$3

4. Huge NZ Websites that have their own advertising systems

  • Format: display ads (interactive costs extra & video is not usually available)
  • Eg TradeMe, NZHerald etc
  • The CPM (Cost-Per-Thousand Impressions) is usually very high and uncompetitive to a discerning advertiser (because they put a very high value on their own audience and there is large overhead to pay for)
  • No targeting at all

“Great! How do we get started?”

  1. Be very clear what your objective is
    • If it’s new customers: What are you offering them? Why should they join? What’s in it for them? What should your landing page say?
  2. Set a value on that new customer
    • Eg if you can expect every new customer to stick with you for 5 years and you will earn $100 from that relationship, then the value of a new customer is $100. If 50% of them will stick with you, the value is $50
    • This is your maximum allowable “Cost of Acquisition”
  3. Set a target
    • Eg “1000 new customers”
    • And decide upfront how you will measure the results (eg install tracking code on the website)
  4. Set a budget
    • Multiple your target by your Cost of Acquisition
    • If the number is unacceptable, re-adjust any of the numbers accordingly
  5. Hand over the project to someone who knows what they are doing

“Great! Sheldon, can you help us with this?”

I’m booked up until March 2011. If you’d like to join the queue, email me your details and I’ll make a note in my diary to contact you then.

Cheers,
– Sheldon

Phone: (07) 575 8799, Email: sheldon@marketingfirst.co.nz

P.S. What I’ve left out:

  • Mobile advertising
    • Google Adwords offers you the ability to show your ads on mobile devices. There is huge growth in this area and definitely worth keeping an eye on and considering later
  • Google Search Partners
    • This is a network of search engines that use Google to serve ads, but these alternatives are not popular in New Zealand so ignore them for now
  • Other Search Engines like Bing
    • Perhaps there are bargains to be had with Bing’s text-based ads but their market share is very small in NZ

The Squeaky Window Gets The Lube

For about a week I have noticed an extremely squeaky rear electric window in my car. It is like 5 teenagers scratching on a chalk board – a really horrendous sound.

I hadn’t thought too deeply about what I should do about it when I heard a radio ad this afternoon “Free electric window lube at Anything Auto Electrical, 32 Waihi Road”.

Just what I wanted! To get the squeak fixed and it’s for free!

I pulled over, and whipped out my new iPhone and found their contact details on yellowpages.co.nz. I called the number and Greg the manager answered. I said “I just heard your radio ad for a free lube, I’ll be there in 10 mins, ok?” “Sure!” said Greg.

I love to talk to small business owners about their marketing, and that’s exactly what I did with Greg as he worked on my windows.

What Greg Reminded Me About The Yellow Pages

And even though I don’t think much of the Yellow Pages, Greg made me remember that for some industries it is essential and can be effective.

For his Yellow Pages online listing, the “Bronze” level was enough to get him ahead of all the auto-electricians in the area for an extra $20/month.  (I guess Yellow Pages hope that to get ahead of him, a competitor will go for the Silver level?).

Greg liked the Yellow Pages statistics he is provided with every month of the people who “click-to-reveal” his phone number. He monitors his phone call stats and tells me a very high percentage of those that click, go ahead and make the phone call.

How Greg Can Get Maximum Mileage Out of His Free Lube Offer

Greg tells me that the idea behind the “free lube for electric windows” offer was to get people in so they find out a bit about the kind of services they offer, where they are, and take a business card away with them so the next time they have an auto-electrical problem, they know who to call.

Finally I had a useful piece of advice for Greg (have you noticed that so far in this article, he has been teaching me?)

I suggested that Greg starts taking an email address and that the admin/receptionist sends out a short “thank you” email later today or tomorrow which has the following components:

  • Thanks: eg “Thanks for coming in for a free electric window lube today, we think it is important to help you to prolong the life of your window motor and switches”
  • Provide a list of 5 most common symptoms that would indicate an electrical problem “if you notice any of those changes/noises, bring your car in and we’ll do a no-obligation diagnostic for you”

Greg explained to me that he hasn’t bothered creating an emailing list in the past because auto-electrical work happens when something breaks, and whereas mechanics can send out 6 monthly reminders for oil changes and WOF’s, there is very little you can do in terms of preventative maintenance when it comes to auto-electrics.

I suggested, that now that he has the customers permission to email then, that he schedule an email for 3 or 4 or 6 months from now anyway.  The content of that email could simply repeat the list of “5 most common symptoms” or provide a new list, or helpful article, or free advice.

It’s an opportunity to get his brand name in-front of that customer again, and is sure to increase the chances of that customer choosing Greg if something happens to their car around that time that they receive that email.

How Greg Depends Heavily On Online Directory Websites

Even though I am a Marketing generalist and profess to be a “Marketing Consultant” or “Marketing Advisor” I must confess that I don’t do much of that kind of work for clients. Most of the time a client doesn’t even know they need help with their marketing, they just know they need a website. So that’s what I build for them – a website. Luckily for them all my marketing knowledge goes into that process for free!

Anyway, Greg told me his website lists products but doesn’t have ecommerce.

That is perfectly fine in my opinion.

Sometimes it is right to show samples of your product range, indications of pricing, and then drive people to the phone so you can help them in greater depth, provide them with a more accurate diagnosis of their problem, and propose the appropriate solution.

You don’t get that with an ecommerce website – most ecommerce websites are just about the lowest price. It’s no fun discounting all the time just to give yourself the chance of making a sale.

Since getting back to the office, I have tried to find Greg’s website, but I have failed.

I searched for “Anything Auto Electrical Tauranga” but the search engine results pages are dominated by directory listings of his business (Yellow, iLook, UBD, Finda etc), so there is no problem finding his contact details, location and phone number, but it concerns me that his “official” website is nowhere to be seen.

To me, this is a reminder that every business should have a website even if it is a single page with only your contact details and a summary of how you can help customers.

Did you know it is very very easy to rank at the top of search engine results for your brand name?

Why send everyone who searches for you to those directory websites? Do you see there is more risk of them finding one of your competitors while they are there?

If your official website is the first, that risk is removed and you have control over what they read (whereas online directories control how your info is presented).

Can I Help You?

I’d love to chat with you to find out about your business and I might have an idea or two for you to improve. But to be honest, mostly I’ll be listening to what I can learn from you 🙂

If you’d like some free advice about your marketing and advertising, give me a call (07) 575 8799.

Cheers,

Sheldon Nesdale

How To Modify Your Advertising Depending On The Customers Usage Level And Loyalty

The next time you are writing an advertisement, or an article, or updating your website, choose your audience along the following grid of “usage” vs “loyalty”.

Choose just one and ask yourself “how can I modify my message to speak just to them?”.

Usage vs Loyalty: Where Are The Opportunities For Your Business?

Let’s look at each sector in more detail:

1. High/Med/Low User + High Loyalty To You = Your Best Customers

  • This is where you are making all your profit.
  • What else can you do today to keep them fiercely loyal? 2 ideas:
    • Keep adding value, keep improving
    • and keep putting your prices up (the best way to maintain or grow your profitability and signal to them that you are working hard to improve the value of your products and services)
  • Don’t waste your money communicating to this bunch with mass-media. Surely you have their email addresses or phone numbers? But more important than a cheesy Christmas card every year is to keep delivering the top quality products and services they have come to expect. Keep up the good work. Nice job.
  • High Volume:
    • If we all had lots of high volume / high loyalty customers we’d all be rich! But unfortunately they are hard to get, hard to keep and there are few of them.  So don’t retire yet
    • It’s a double edged sword: Does having just a few major contracts make your business secure and stable, or does it make you weak and vulnerable?
  • Med/Low Volume:
    • Don’t neglect the little guy. They might never turn into high volume, but they are your bread and butter today. But you already knew that I’m sure.

2. High User + Low Loyalty To You = Your Competitors Best Customers

  • Do you think you can win the most loyal customers of your competitors? You’re dreaming! They’re out of your reach
  • Can you turn a Holden fan into a Ford fan? No, you can’t. So give up and pick a fight you can win
  • But, be ready – wait for the competition to make a huge screw-up and be there with a smile on your face welcoming them home
  • This group is completely blind to your advertisements. They have made their choice of supplier for this category/industry/niche. Life is easy and peaceful for them. Let them be at peace.

3. High User + No Loyalty = Attractive But Deadly

  • This group is super attractive, because there are so many of them
  • Your boss will put enormous pressure on you to do whatever it takes to make this group buy from you this week. Most of the time the only tactic that will work is a super special price (maybe at break-even point!)
  • Sure, you might make the sale this week, but next week you’re playing the same game again and next time they’ll choose a different supplier
  • These guys suck up your advertising budget and contribute little to your profitability
  • They don’t care about the brand you’ve worked so hard to build. They don’t see distinction or differentiation between your brand and your competitors. “Who is cheaper this week? That’s the one for me!”

4. Non-Users + No Loyalty = Untapped Markets

  • This group has never made a purchase
  • They have the same problems and issues that all the other customers are facing, but not know that a solution exists!
  • For example, one of the most popular websites in NZ is called 1-day.co.nz with half a million visits a day, but it seems that 80% of the people I tell about it, have never heard of it! Could the same be true for your business? What are they reading/watching/listening to that you don’t normally advertise in?
  • The only bummer with speaking to the members of this new market is that you are breaking the ice for your whole industry and they may not choose you!

5. Med/Low Users + Low Loyalty To You = Your Competitors Bread and Butter

  • This is where your growth can come from
  • It’s about maintaining your high quality, providing remarkable service (even if only occasionally) and trying to activate Word-of-Mouth
  • What can you do to turn your customers into ambassadors for your brand?

Need Help?

Need help analysing the opportunities for your business?

I’d loooove to help!  Call (07) 575 8799 or email sheldon@marketingfirst.co.nz.

Cheers,
Sheldon.

The 80 Best Guerrilla Marketing Ideas I’ve Ever Seen

Here is the first in this list:

I didn’t get it at first – but the “fleas” are people walking accross the foyer of an office building or mall, so this is the view for people looking down from the 3rd or 4th floor.

Pretty clever huh?

Here are 79 more: The 80 Best Guerrilla Marketing Ideas I’ve Ever Seen

I’d looooove to brainstorm with you and come up with clever ideas like this for your business. Call me today (07) 575 8799 or email me

– Sheldon.

Which one is your favourite?

Tell me in the comments below.

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.

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)

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.”

Wow.

(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”.

Nope.

$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.

Want Free Media Exposure? What The News Media Values & How You Can Get Your Business In The News

Yes, you can buy air time for your TV ads or radio ads.

Yes, you can buy space for your newspaper ads.

But you can also get mentioned in all of these media for free if you can create a newsworthy story.

The first step is to ask the question “What do news editors look for in a news story?”

Step 1: What Do News Editors Look For In A News Story?

Source: “News Values”, Wikipedia

  • Frequency: Events that occur suddenly and fit well with the news organization’s schedule are more likely to be reported than those that occur gradually or at inconvenient times of day or night. Long-term trends are not likely to receive much coverage.
  • Negativity: Bad news is more newsworthy than good news.
  • Unexpectedness: If an event is out of the ordinary it will have a greater effect than something that is an everyday occurrence.
  • Unambiguity: Events whose implications are clear make for better copy than those that are open to more than one interpretation, or where any understanding of the implications depends on first understanding the complex background in which the events take place.
  • Personalisation: Events that can be portrayed as the actions of individuals will be more attractive than one in which there is no such “human interest.”
  • Meaningfulness: This relates to the sense of identification the audience has with the topic. “Cultural proximity” is a factor here — stories concerned with people who speak the same language, look the same, and share the preoccupations as the audience receive more coverage than those concerned with people who speak different languages, look different and have different preoccupations.
  • Reference to elite nations: Stories concerned with global powers receive more attention than those concerned with less influential nations.
  • Reference to elite persons: Stories concerned with the rich, powerful, famous and infamous get more coverage.
  • Conflict: Opposition of people or forces resulting in a dramatic effect. Stories with conflict are often quite newsworthy.
  • Consonance: Stories that fit with the media’s expectations receive more coverage than those that defy them (and for which they are thus unprepared). Note this appears to conflict with unexpectedness above. However, consonance really refers to the media’s readiness to report an item.
  • Continuity: A story that is already in the news gathers a kind of inertia. This is partly because the media organizations are already in place to report the story, and partly because previous reportage may have made the story more accessible to the public (making it less ambiguous).
  • Composition: Stories must compete with one another for space in the media. For instance, editors may seek to provide a balance of different types of coverage, so that if there is an excess of foreign news for instance, the least important foreign story may have to make way for an item concerned with the domestic news. In this way the prominence given to a story depends not only on its own news values but also on those of competing stories. (Galtung and Ruge, 1965)
  • Competition: Commercial or professional competition between media may lead journalists to endorse the news value given to a story by a rival.
  • Co-optation: A story that is only marginally newsworthy in its own right may be covered if it is related to a major running story.
  • Prefabrication: A story that is marginal in news terms but written and available may be selected ahead of a much more newsworthy story that must be researched and written from the ground up.
  • Predictability: An event is more likely to be covered if it has been pre-scheduled. (Bell, 1991)
  • Time constraints: Traditional news media such as radio, television and daily newspapers have strict deadlines and a short production cycle, which selects for items that can be researched and covered quickly.
  • Logistics: Although eased by the availability of global communications even from remote regions, the ability to deploy and control production and reporting staff, and functionality of technical resources can determine whether a story is covered. (Schlesinger, 1987)

– Retrieved from Wikipedia 24 December 2009

Step 2: Which Of These Newsworthy Indicators Can You Influence?

Many of the news values listed above are out of your control, but some are within your control.

An example is Prefabrication. If your Press Release is written so well the editor barely needs to modify it, they may be able to fill a space when one becomes available.

Need help to get free media exposure for your business?

I’m here for you. Call (07) 575 8799

– Sheldon.

Is Your Target Market Small to Medium Sized NZ Businesses? How to Choose Advertising That Reaches Them

This article answers 2 questions:

  1. Where can you find stats about your target market (if you are B2B)?
  2. How effective is your advertising at reaching this target market?

1. Where can you find stats about your target market (if you are B2B)?

The ministry of Economic Development released the following report in July 09:

Small – Medium Sized Enterprises (SME’s) in New Zealand: Structure and Dynamics – July 09 (1.48Mb .pdf)

Essentially it is a very pretty version of what has been available from the Stats.govt.nz website for about 6 months.

A Quick Summary of My Favourite Statistics From the Report:

  • An SME (Small – Medium Sized Enterprise) is defined as 0-19 employees (97% of all NZ enterprises)
  • 67.8% of New Zealand businesses have zero employees
  • How can an enterprise have zero employees?
    • “could be working proprietor-only, or self-employed, businesses or of enterprises that may require no labour input, such as asset and property investment”
  • How many SME’s in the top 5 major centres?
    1. Auckland 147,622
    2. Canterbury 58,457
    3. Waikato 48,427
    4. Wellington 46,606
    5. Bay of Plenty 31,115

What can we do with these statistics?

Actually not much.  We have to dig a bit deeper using the “Table Viewer” on the stats.govt.nz website to really find out what’s going on.  (It’s a bit tricky at first, but you’ll get used to it, and then it becomes very powerful)

If your business is B2B (Business to Business), we can determine the size of your target market.

For example, the target market for my business (Marketing Consulting) is Tauranga businesses with 1-19 employees.

  • Total number of NZ businesses: 507,800 (with 1,970,000 employees)
  • Total Tauranga businesses: 13,600 (with 51,200 employees)
  • Proportion of NZ businesses with 1-19 employees: 29.3%
  • Estimated SME’s in Tauranga (0.293 x 13,600) = 3,985

So there are 4,000 local businesses in my target market.  More than I could reach one at a time with phone calls or knocking on doors, so perhaps some advertising could serve to filter these business and determine which ones are in need of my services.

But what types of advertising can reach this target market?

This brings us to the next question:

2. How effective is your advertising at reaching this target market?

What are your favourite methods of advertising?

  • Community newspapers?
  • Daily Newspapers?
  • PO Box Drops?
  • Direct Mail? (i.e. using purchased mailing lists)

Let’s look at the Business PO Box Drops as an example.  I am asking “How many of the businesses in my Tauranga target market can a Business PO Box drop reach?”.

The first step is to ask Reach Media how many business PO Boxes they have in Tauranga: 2500.

They can’t tell me which of those are owned by SME’s, so that number includes all size businesses, so:

  • Total business PO Boxes in Tauranga: 2500
  • Guess of the % of those with 1-19 employees: 50%
  • Reach: (0.5 x 2500) = 1250
  • % of target market reached by PO Box: (1250/4000) = 31%

So 31% of my target market can be reached by PO Box drop.

This indicates that using this method of advertising in isolation will only reach a third of my target market.  Therefore, to reach more of my target market I would need to build in other forms of advertising into my campaign.

Would you like me to crunch the numbers on your business?

Are you wondering about the answers to some of the questions listed above?

I can help. Call me on (07) 575 8799 today or email me.

Should You Sell Space On Your NZ Website For Banner Advertising?

You might be thinking “hey, we’ve got quite a bit of traffic to our website these days, we could earn easy money by selling space for banner advertisements!”

STOP you silly goose! Here’s why:

5 Reasons NOT To Sell Space on Your NZ Website For Banner Advertising:

1. Because you don’t really want to send potential customers away to someone elses website

I assume you work reasonably hard at getting visitors to your website in the first place? Perhaps you use techniques like:

Why, after all that hard work, would you send them away again as soon as they arrive?

Is the revenue model for your business “to earn 30c by sending a potential customer away to someone elses website”?

For your sake, I hope not.

2. Because it’s not the action you want your web visitors to take

When you were planning your website with your website developer I’m sure one of their questions was “what action do you want your visitors to take?

You may have chosen one of the following:

  • To call your sales team
  • To fill in a contact form
  • To sign up for your newsletter
  • To buy from you online

Was the answer to that question ever “to send them to someone elses website”?

No, of course not.

3. Because you’re not the NZHerald or TradeMe

Banner advertising is suitable to “portal” website which have truckloads of daily visitors and gazillions of web pages.

No?

Well then selling banner advertising space is not a viable revenue generation model for you.

4. Because you don’t want to look cheap

It is common knowledge that the effectiveness of banner advertising has reduced over time.

One of the major reasons for this is a phenomenon known as “Banner Blindness“.

This is a condition where the more you use the internet, the more you are able to determine what ads commonly look like, and where they are likely to be on the page, so you can easily “tune them out” to the point where you are not conscious of their existence at all.

In response to this “Banner Blindness”, many advertisers resort to cheesy techniques designed to interrupt your visitors in the middle of their tasks, such as “CLICK HERE, CLICK HERE!”

The use of these techniques cheapens your visitors experience of your website.

Additionally, you probably spent considerable time and money getting the colour scheme of your website just how you like it?  Well, it is in the best interests of advertisers to create banners that clash with your colour scheme so their ads have a better chance of being noticed.

And if the flashing text and images annoy’s them, who gets the blame for being annoying? Not the advertiser, you. After all, you chose to allow those ads to flash in your visitors faces, so you get the blame. Do you really want to annoy potential customers?

Your website will look cheap. And I’m thinking that’s not the image you were going for?

5. Because it is not as lucrative as you might think

Let’s say for the sake of argument that you choose to use the Google Adsense programme to handle serving your banner ads for you to save you the significant hassle of doing it yourself.

Let’s see what daily revenue you can expect:

  • Daily visitors to your website: Eg 1000/day
  • Typical Click-through-rate for Banner Ads: 0.5%
  • Typical Earnings-Per-Click: $0.30
  • Total Earnings per day: $1.50

It’s just not viable.

It makes even less sense if you are using Google Adwords to get people to your website.  If you are spending an average of $1 to get a visitor to your website and earning $0.30 to send them away, you should be fired.

What should you be doing instead?

Here are a few ideas for how you can improve your website and earn more money than you ever could with banner ads:

  1. Count the number of clicks it takes for a web visitor to take the action you want them to take. Make changes to halve that number.
  2. Reorganise the content of your website around your potential customers goals (i.e. solving the problem they’ve got), rather than around your goals (i.e. selling what you’ve got)
  3. Invest in Search Engine Optimisation so Google sends you potential customers for free

Need More Help?  Need to Generate Better Results From Your Website?

If you have a small-medium sized NZ business, then I can help you with:

  1. Generating more traffic using Search Engine Optimisation and Google Adwords
  2. Converting your web visitors into paying customers

Call me now on (07) 575 8799 or email me for your FREE 45 minute Marketing and Advertising Review.

Radio Advertising Is Mostly A Waste Of Money, But Here’s 4 Tips To Give You A Chance At Making A Radio Ad That Works

Radio DJ Mixing Vinyl

Very soon I will share with you 4 tips on how to write a radio ad that actually works. But first, I want you to think about radio advertising from your point of view as a member of the audience.

Q: Why do you listen to the radio?

  • Music?
  • Witty Commentary?
  • Advertising?
  • Because you like hearing the same weather report and news headlines every 15 minutes?

Q: Where are you when you listen to the radio?

  • In the car?
  • On your morning run or bike ride?
  • In the office?
  • On the toilet?

Q: What do you do when the ads come on?

  • Change the radio station?
  • “Zone out” while you wait for the music or chat to start again?
  • Listen carefully for the latest sales and bargains?

You can see that there are a million potential distractions that can prevent your advertising message getting through to your radio audience.

And radio is a mass-media form of advertising after-all, so there is a huge amount of wastage (I hate wastage!).

Your potential audience could be 10,000 people, but how many of those people are:

  1. Listening attentively…
  2. at that precise moment in time…
  3. that need what you are selling…
  4. and are motivated enough to take action?

Probably none.

If you ask a radio advertising sales person what it takes to generate business for you using radio advertising, they will tell you there are 2 things you need:

  1. High repetition/frequency
  2. Say your brand name heaps

That is complete bullocks!

They say “repetition” because they want you to buy more ads.

They say “brand name” because that’s what your boss is more likely to approve the ad because he loves to hear his brand name again and again.

As you can probably tell by now, I am not a fan of radio advertising and haven’t recommended it to any of my clients for years.  I’ve tried it several times, but it didn’t generate any results.

And if you’re not getting results from your advertising (or you don’t know how to measure them), then what’s the point? You might as well flush your advertising dollars down the toilet!

But this morning, whilst running, I heard a radio ad that had all the elements of success going for it.

If any radio ad can be successful I think this is it

I make that assessment on the basis that I heard it once and I remembered several key facts about it.

Try it yourself. Listen to the following mp3 once, and then I’ll test you on what you remember:

Possibly the most effective radio ad ever created (514Kb .mp3)

Have you listened to the ad yet? You have? Great!  Now, can you answer these questions after listening to the ad just once?

  1. What is his name?
  2. What is he offering?
  3. How does he distinguish himself from the competition?
  4. What should you do next if you want to contact him or find out more?

I wouldn’t be surprised if you can answer all these questions.

Do you realise how amazing that is?  After a single exposure?

So what can we learn from this?

What do you have to do to write a radio ad like this that at least has a chance at generating results for you?

Here is your lesson for the day:

4 Essential Components of a Radio Ad

1. Target your audience with your opening sentence

The opening sentence is exactly like a headline in a newspaper. If you don’t like the headline you don’t read the article.  It’s the same with radio ads.  If the opening sentence doesn’t speak to you, you “zone out” and don’t listen to the rest of the ad.  At first, you might think that’s bad, but that’s great!  It means you speaking to your target audience directly, and people who aren’t interested are being filtered out.

2. Use the word “you” through-out your ad

This is just like speed dating.  You only have 30 seconds, so do you talk about yourself or do you talk about them?

You talk about them of course!

Don’t make the mistake of talking about you and your business “we do this, and we do that”. Borrrr-ring!

What do people care about more: themselves or what you are trying to sell them?

Themselves!

So talk about the listener, what they want, what they need, and use “you” and “your” constantly.

3. Distinguish yourself with a single fact

You’ve only got time to state 1 fact.

The amazing thing about this is that is the fact doesn’t have to be overly impressive, it just has to be distinctive.

In this example, Aaron said he was “one of NZ’s youngest celebrants”.  Amazing? No. Distinctive? Yes!

4. Make the call to action a website address

The #1 most common mistake in radio ads is stating a phone number as the call-to-action.

Phone numbers are too hard to remember! (Even word numbers eg 0800 CALL ME NOW). They might rattle around in your brain for a few seconds, but you know that by the time you find a piece of paper and a pen (or your cellphone), they will be gone. So you don’t bother.

A website address works because is probably uses the same brand name that was mentioned in the ad with a “.co.nz” on the end of it. Easy to remember. Easy for your audience to type in when they next get to a computer (or remember days or weeks later!)

Need More Help?  Need to Generate Better Results From Your Advertising?

If you have a small-medium sized business in Tauranga, then I can help you with your marketing and advertising.

I hate wastage, so I’ll choose mediums that work, I’ll measure the results, and I’ll make you truck loads of cash.

Call me now on (07) 575 8799 or email me for your FREE 45 minute Marketing and Advertising Review.

How To Feature Your Business In Any Major NZ Magazine For $2.57

In 3 Easy Steps

Step #1:

Contact the publisher/distributor and get a special deal for about 50/100 copies of the next issue.  Tell them this is their chance to expand their subscriber base and you want them for free.

Step #2:

Announce to prospective clients (like at a trade show, conference, expo, chamber of commerce, business after 5 meeting, or pub crawl), that you’re being featured in the next issue of xyz magazine and ask if they’d like a free copy sent to them.

Step #3:

When your magazine copies arrive, place your business card and a branded post-it note somewhere in the first few pages.  Handwrite a personalised message on the post-it note eg “Dear Bob, good to meet you the other day! Cheers, Dave” (if your name is not Dave, replace that name with your own).

That’s how you feature your business in any major NZ magazine!

Cost Breakdown For Each Magazine “Feature”:

  • Magazine: Free
  • Business Card: $0.40
  • Post-it Note: $0.07
  • A4 Envelope: $0.60
  • Postage: $1.50
  • Total: $2.57

(Disclosure: I stole the basics of this idea from here)

Want More Cunning Ideas For Marketing and Advertising Your Business?

Then give me a call on (07) 575 8799 or email me, I’d like to help (first 45 minutes is free).

Outrageous Advertising That’s Outrageously Successful by Bill Glazer

My Notes on “Outrageous Advertising That’s Outrageously Successful” by Bill Glazer:

Recipe for a 5 Page Sales Letter51-3Sx8fMwL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_

  • Page 1: Tell your story, the reason why you’re doing this, and why buyers should buy
  • Page 2: The details, what’s for sale, who you are, how much they’ll save
  • Page 3: Offer free gift “premium”. A deadline. Write directly at them. Hint at coupons coming up on the last page.
  • Page 4: Personal message reminding them how great you are, that they are your preferred customers, and not everyone is getting this offer, but they will later and then all the best stuff will be gone so they better act now. Another hint of the coupons on the last page
  • Page 5: Use P.S. and P.P.S.


Continue reading “Outrageous Advertising That’s Outrageously Successful by Bill Glazer”

Call Your Cat Bob And See If It Still Wants Dinner – Do Your Customers Care About Your Name?

gary-larson-what-we-say-to-dogs-what-dogs-hearOne of my favourite Gary Larson cartoons is “What we say to dogs, and what they hear. What we say to cats, and what they hear”. (Shown on right. Click to enlarge).

I thought my cat was smarter than that. I was convinced that she responds to her name. But as an experiment I started calling her Bob.

I was dismayed to get the exactly same result. She still knew I was talking to her.  She doesn’t care if I call her Muffin or Bob or Cookie Shoes, as long as I call her. She just likes the attention (and the food).

Do you think your customers care about your product name or even your brand name?

Well they certainly don’t care about your brand name or product names as much as you do.

All they care about is what’s in it for them.

So next time you are coming up with a name for your product or service or brand, don’t be a sucker for a name that sounds cool but doesn’t hint at the benefit to your customers.

For example, Telecom is spending millions on advertising for their “XT Network”.  I can’t even be bothered wondering what the X and the T stand for.

However, I hear about 2degrees and I “get it”. It’s about helping me to communicate, it’s about making it easier to connect with people because everyone is only 2 degrees of separation from me.

The benefit is embedded into the product name / brand name.

What examples of piss-poor brand names can you think of?  What about examples of benefit-embedded ones? Share them in the comments below.

Need fresh ideas for your product names or brand names? Let’s talk.

Bed and Breakfast Marketing – Ideas for Marketing Your New Zealand B&B

A client of mine runs a Bed and Breakfast in Papamoa.  I built the website for her in June 2009, and we’ve been disappointed with the web traffic to date so she asked me look into Bed and Breakfast Marketing for her.

Do you need help with the marketing and advertising of your Bed and Breakfast too?

If so, this to-do list of 11 B&B marketing ideas may help you too:

  1. Read the marketing chapters in all of these books (most are available in your local library for free):
    1. The complete idiot’s guide to running a bed and breakfast / by Park Davis and Susannah Craig
    2. The business of bed and breakfast / by Sharron Dickman and Mary Maddock
    3. Getting into bed & breakfast in New Zealand / by Stewart Whyte
    4. Open your own Bed & Breakfast / by Barbara Notarius
    5. Running a Bed & Breakfast For Dummies / by Mary White
  2. What makes you unique? Is there something truly remarkable about your B&B that is newsworthy that will get free publicity?
  3. What other Bed and Breakfast‘s around the country do you think are 1st class? Can you contact the owners, befriend them, and ask them for marketing advice? What works well for them?
  4. Can you ask past guests to suggest which of their friends you can contact directly and offer a discount too (only $10/$20 off)?
  5. What national and international Bed and Breakfast directories are there online? What free ones can we get listed on today?
  6. What are the biggest Bed and Breakfast blogs (freelance journalists) online? Could you offer a free night to them in exchange for a review?
  7. What are the biggest B&B forums online? Can you contribute to the conversation and provide a link back to your website?
  8. Are there NZ tourism websites that will provide a link to your website?
  9. What Bed and Breakfast Magazines are there around the world? What are their costs?
  10. What Bed and Breakfast Guidebooks are out there? What does it take to get listed? Which ones will provide you with a review for a free or discounted stay?
  11. What is the cost of Rack Cards and Brochure stands at Tourism Info Centres in NZ?

Do you have more ideas? Add them to the comments below.