Extremes seem to be the norm these days. Doom and gloom or opportunities around every corner. I am in a unique position to hear the buzz in networking circles...both good and bad.
I've heard folks pulling out of organizations, cancelling advertising, and waiting until things clear up to make new choices in marketing their businesses. I hear others stepping up their marketing efforts to capture market share and take advantage in this new economy.
What is your take? What are you doing differently? I am curious.
This blog unpacks a few tactics and offers some tools to make smarter decisions with your dollars and time!
Let's talk advertising!
Arleen McClean with WorkSmarter offers these tips to Three Costly Advertising Mistakes.
Mistake #1: Not Tracking for Return on Investment:
Advertising is used to build awareness (branding) or generate leads. To determine if advertising is a good investment for your business, consider the following:
Are your competitors advertising?
Do you want to increase your market share and improve sales?
Are you forfeiting profit because you have unsold inventory that can't be sold in the future. (Vacant airplane seats, apartments that are un-rented, time that isn’t filled with prospects…all translate into lost profits!)
Is your average sale large enough to justify advertising and create a positive return on investment ratio? (For example, a car dealer making $3,000 on each vehicle sale can spend $9,000 a month on advertising and reasonably expect to sell 9 cars a month for a 3-1 R.O.I.)
Bottom Line: Have a clear sense of what you want the advertising to do. Ask your media representative to explain the kind of results you might expect and to show you any success stories they have from other businesses like yours. Good media reps can also provide you with statistical information that will help you find the people you want to reach.
Mistake #2: Ignoring the Emotional / Logical Message:
People buy based on emotion and logic. Whether advertising in print, radio, television, or online your selling messages need the following elements:
An Emotional Hook Emotionally connecting with the audience in the first five seconds is critical. The headline or text should draw people in and make them curious enough to read further.
Logical Reassurance Next, the emotional connection is complimented by the logical reasons why someone should seek out this particular advertiser to solve a specific problem.
Call to Action Finally, the ad needs to evoke a response. This “call to action” can be as simple as listing a web site or the price of an item.
Urgency One key item that is often overlooked in writing ads is creating urgency. Urgency can be created by limiting statements like “space is limited” or listing specific deadlines of the end of a sale.
Focus It isn’t about you. The message is not about you – it’s about how you solve a problem for the prospect.
Bottom Line: Consistently track to see which selling messages get the most phone calls and translate into the highest number of sales. Ask callers to tell you what they identified most with in the commercial.
Writing compelling copy that induces sales is tricky and requires skills. If you’re doing it yourself, seek objective feedback. If the media you work with doesn't have a dedicated commercial copywriter, consider hiring someone like Work Smarter to write the advertising for you. It’s a small price to pay for such a critical part to your advertising success.
Mistake #3: Too Little Too Late
If you’ve ‘tried advertising once and it didn’t work’ it’s often due to mistakes made in this area. Finding the right place to advertise and knowing how to purchase the advertising is critical.
Too Little: Research shows that people need to hear or see an ad a minimum of three times before they act. When I schedule ads for my clients, I put a concentration of ads in a narrow block of time (5 a.m. – 10 a.m.) instead of allowing ads to run as 'broad rotators' (5 a.m. – 8 p.m.). The equivalent in newspaper advertising is to place your ad in the same section of the newspaper each time.
Too Late: It takes time to fine tune the advertising process, so don’t wait until your business is in critical condition before you start advertising. In today’s economic climate people are also taking longer to make buying decisions. So while a percentage of the people are looking for your product or service today, most a not. That’s why it’s important to consistently advertise – to build awareness of your name so that when they are looking for your product or service, they call you!
Bottom Line: Advertising can provide a steady stream of leads to your business if done correctly. For more information or to discuss your specific needs, call Arleen McClean of Work Smarter at (503) 449-4830.
Let's talk Networking!
Here is a little tidbit from me....
I believe networking is the most under-utilized tactic to grow business and open doors to new opportunities! Here are some common mistakes I observe that minimize any results networking efforts could produce.
No clear value proposition.
No expressed confidence, passion, or desire to serve.
No follow up.
Think networking is all about them.
Lack of desire to connect.
Don't ask questions.
Talk too much.
Inconsistent messages from business attire to collateral to verbal cues.
No time for relationship building.
Sound like anyone you know? The secret to networking success is simply to flip the equation. People do business with those they know, like, and trust. Bring yourself to your networking activities. Don't pull back!
Social Networking! Speaking to those of you on the edge..dipping your toes. Can Social Networking work for you? Let's see...
Do you build relationships and have conversations with your customers, prospects, and network?
Do you tap into others experience, resources, and ideas?
Do you make introductions to others?
Do you share your expertise one on one, in small groups, or in larger forums?
Do you have a website?
Then yes...it can work for you! Social networking is simply another set of tools to reach an extended group of people. The secret is in taking on the right tool, investing time to understand it's impact and then maintaining it.
If you have not taken the plunge yet, start with completing your LinkedIn profile and inviting a few friends to join your network. This always stimulates some conversation.
Already on LinkedIn? Check out some of the questions and respond in the areas of your expertise.
A solopreneur or small business, check out Biznik.
Like you, I am tentatively reaching out into the arena of social networking to see where the best use of time can be found. What I am learning is that if you DON'T begin to build a presence online that extends beyond your website, you may be caught behind the curve.
In the end...it is all about time, money, and return on investment. Evaluate, maximize, and in the end...eliminate or add. Stop doing what doesn't work and step up what does.