Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Using Your Voicemail as an Advertisement Medium

Here is one simple thing that many companies do while their customers are on hold. They advertise! When the automated attendant answers and you choose the option to get to the right person you sometimes have to wait. During that time, instead of playing the latest top 40 hits, many companies advertise their products and services. This a great way to promote your goods to a captive audience! let me encourage you to use your on-hold time to advertise what you have.

There is something that I have noticed recently that is a little disturbing. First, many people are starting to use cell phones as their primary business phone. The problem occurs when people use the on-hold music as their wait "entertainment". You call them and instead of hearing a "ring" you instead hear "please enjoy this music while your party is reached". You then hear the user's favorite tune - which most of the time I am not interested in.

If you use your cell phone as a business phone then please reconsider this technique as it makes your business sound cheap, extremely small, or somewhat childish. You do not want to have your first impression as being unprofessional. If you use your cell phone as your business phone, make it a point to answer every call unless it is impossible to do so. If they have to go to voice mail, leave a professional message and if possible leave an option to hear some of the latest specials.

Use your phone system to benefit you, not destroy you.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Attracting Advertising Attention via Twitter

I like to call it the Three A's of Twitter. Attracting Advertising Attention! Having a business or organization requires you have some sort of customer base or following. As a part of advertising you need to keep your product or service in front of as many people as possible. Twitter is a great way to do that, however you have to have followers. The more followers you have on Twitter, the greater audience for your message or product.

So how do you acquire followers? One of the ways is to follow other people. Many people, just because you followed them, will follow back. Another way to gain followers is to make sure you are an active tweeter. Along with your tweets, use meaningful #Hashtags. Your hashtags should represent your comments or ideas. Many people follow the trends and your hashtags help the process of being viewed in the trends that people are looking for.

There is another way of getting your tweets viewed by a lot of people. It is called promoting your tweet or promoting your ID; and as you can expect, it costs money. In the Twitter world it is called promoting your tweets or promoting your brand. To find out more information and to start shelling out some cash to have a tweet or two displayed in front of a vast number of people, just click the advertising link at the bottom of your Twitter profile.

Personally, I believe we can be effective for free if you do your homework and diligently work at the process.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Rapidly Determining Online Ad performance

Determining advertising performance is a huge deal. With traditional advertising such as newspaper, billboards, radio, and television, one has to wait for the campaign to run to determine if his or her advertising money was well spent. This is not the case with Internet advertising. Internet advertising offers the ability to see almost immediate results. Lets take a look at the process.

We will use Google AdWords for an example. Google AdWords allows you to create Internet advertisements that will display alongside of search results in a Google.com search. Google Adwords also allows your ads to be displayed on the webpages of people who want to reap advertising returns by allowing Google to post relevant ads on their site. In either case, Google AdWords connects the advertiser with his target demographic by product interest.

Here is how it works. Google AdWords allows the advertiser to create ad campaigns that connects a product to a potential buyer by connecting search and content terms to your ad. You are given the opportunity to create an ad in its entirety including header, content, and link. You choose the word connection, how much you want to spend (bidding), and the times you want your ad to run. Google will then match your ad with search terms and website content to display your ads. Your ads can, and probably will, be placed along side of other relevant ads.

When your ad is clicked, the potential buyer is taken to your site, and you are charged for the click (unless you are paying by impression). Seems simple enough right? Here is where the beauty comes in. Using Internet advertising on places like Google AdWords and Facebook ads, you can immediately see the results. Being able to quickly see what is happening allows you to do some creative strategies. The largest advantage to this is where you can produce more than one ad per campaign and balance the frequency of their appearance. Each ad should be slightly different while still advertising the same thing.

After starting your campaign with two different ads for the same product, you should begin to see which ad is getting the most clicks. After a small amount of time, drop the poor performer and develop another ad to take its place. You will begin competing the two against each other. Every so often continue to drop the poorest performer and replace it with a new ad. This will allow you to develop an ad that performs well and achieves your goals.

This has just been an overview. Think about the possibilities of competing ads to develop the ultimate ad campaign. The Internet allows you to adjust your ad in a matter of hours rather than waiting to see what is happening in one or two months. Besides, the Internet has a much larger audience base than your typical billboard or newspaper run. 

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Tracking Your Advertising

We recently spoke about advertising in a bad economy. One of the points mentioned is the fact that you need to be able to track your advertising usage. It is now more important than ever to understand how your advertising is working. With fewer dollars being spent on product, you must make sure you are advertising with the most impact power possible. To do this, you have to know if your advertising is working. How do we do this?

We have to be able to find a way for the buyer to identify how they learned of particular product or service. The old style of doing this was a survey at checkout time. The cashier would casually ask they buyer the question "how did you hear about us?". Those times are almost gone in light of a generation that does not like to communicate in a public setting. Besides, there are more and more online sales happening every day.

Another way advertisers would determine their advertising results would be the use of coupons. Coupons hold a twofold purpose. First, they advertise an individual product, and second, they provide tracking information on where the consumer found the coupon, and if they followed through on the message. Over the course of time coupons per product can show the advertiser what medium is hitting the most target demographic. If the magazine coupon/ad produced no results but the newspaper version produced huge results, then you may want to reconsider spending the dollars with the magazine. Seems simple enough, right?

The problem with this method is that the campaign life is quite long. From the time you purchase the product until you see the results it can be 60 - 90 days. Therefore, you spend valuable money trying to determine where your advertising dollars are working. Remember that I mentioned earlier more and more online sales happening everyday? With online sales comes online advertising, and with online advertising comes a whole new paradigm of ad campaign tracking. With online advertising you can know your campaign performance in as little as 15 minutes. We will talk about that soon. In the meantime, if you are advertising your products and services, find a way to determine if it is doing what you desired. Never advertise blind, it will cost you. So, be aggressive, be creative, and be successful.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Is Social Media a Viable Option for Advertising?

The advertising purists have recently questioned whether or not social media (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc.) is actually a viable option to spend advertising money. I believe it is! Social media makes up much of what I write about on the Realize Media site, and for very good reason. The social media networks are changing the way organizations advertise and do business. If you don't believe me, I want to show you this video. It is a little over a year old, however the message is still there. 



Think about the way you do business, is it time for a change?

Friday, November 16, 2012

Google Updates IOS and Droid Apps for Blogger

Just to take a quick detour from the current subject matter, I want to stop and mention that Google has just updated its IOS and Droid Apps for Blogger. This has been some time coming and if you look at various searches about the Blogger App you will quickly see people have not been too happy with it. They experienced two fatal problems with the old Blogger App. First, you could not go landscape with the app and enter information. Second, even though there was an iPhone app it was not native to the iPad. Blogger fans will now be happy. This week Google released an update to their popular app. It has now solved the two major complaints. Let me know your thoughts. I am trying it out over the weekend myself to see what I think.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Advertising in a Bad Economy

Advertising in a Bad Economy We are not in one of the best economies that we have ever seen. As a matter of fact the economy is in a very poor state. Just look at the unemployment rate, the fast rising national debt, the healthcare crisis, the condition of the DOW. Anyone with any sense would tell you this country is in a crisis and it doesn't look like it is going to get any better anytime soon.

Organizations and businesses are trying to determine how to deal with the rising costs of doing business along side of a scared economy. The first area of action is to cut costs. Anything that is not necessary needs to be curtailed. Many times this includes advertising.

Before cutting the rope on the advertising budget, please consider the results. Advertising is a motivator to your customer base. In a bad economy advertisement can be the push to convince someone to buy a product or service. Cutting that motivator can effect your bottom dollar and maybe the life of your business. Removing advertising can be similar to removing the sign from in front of your shop. Advertising needs to be the last cut before cutting out the lights.

This is not to say that advertising doesn't need to overhauled. You may be spending too much money in areas of little or no return. All advertising needs to be evaluated for effectiveness. For example, lets say you are running an advertising campaign that includes drive time radio, cross channel TV, billboard, and newspaper. This is a fair amount of market saturation, however, does not include any social media, or Internet activity. Looking at your product we have a concert event directed toward a 13-24 age demographic. Immediately we have areas we can change reducing the cost.

Cross channel TV advertising can be drastically reduced. Looking at your target demographic you need to reduce the TV advertisement to only the concert style channels directed at the same age group. Also, be very selective of the time choice because most of your target demographic is in school during the day. If you have to have radio, do the same as you did with TV shooting for early evening to midnight advertising. Billboard can be cut because most teens do not pay any attention to signs (they are looking at their cell phones while driving). Newspaper is also out. Do consider, however, picking up social media advertising. See my article on Social Media.

Rethinking your advertising strategy can cut your advertising budget in half and you may be able to see more return for your dollar. Also, always find a way of tracking the results of your advertising. We will discuss that in a future post.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Facebook Notes vs. External Blog links on Facebook

People ask all of the time if it is not better to have your thoughts or comments about your interests and organizations placed in the notes section of Facebook rather than having a blog? My answer to that is yes and no. It is a good idea to always use the native format of the social medium you choose, however, there are pitfalls. Facebook in its infant life had the ability to import an external blog or RSS feed directly into notes. Not too long ago Facebook had a message when you logged into your account that says notes will no longer be automatically created from outside sources such as blogs. This had been the ideal way to create Facebook notes from an outside resource.

So, if you had been using that method to import outside information into your notes section, then you had to find a different route. This created a problem for bloggers. Now they have to find a different way of connecting their messages to people on Facebook. Is this a catastrophe?

Over the past few years my instruction to college groups is to find the best route to update your Facebook notes without suffering a Social Media catastrophe. What happens to all of your work that you created exclusively on a social site when a new one comes along? It dies with the old site. Remember what happened to MySpace? (sorry, I didn't mean to bring up bad memories)

If you create your important thoughts on a blog or website then you don't have to worry about the new fad that comes along. Just link the old info to the new site. The Facebook notes import function used to be a decent way to do that. So, what do we do now?

There are third party Facebook apps that accomplish the same thing. Just spend some time to research and test. The easiest way (and best way) is just share a link to your new post on your favorite social media sites. This drives people to your site or blog and offers plenty of opportunity for others to see your previous work. Always keep in mind your "web presence" is the ideal place for your comments and the social media sites are just avenues to drive people to your site.

Keep connecting!

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Advertsing for Churches - Overview

Far too often I see the media sales representatives target churches to sell them advertisement. It is difficult to say no to the experienced sales representatives making their living on selling in a highly competitive arena during tough economic times. The responses of many churches is to give in and follow the lead of the sales rep. The problem arises when the sales rep queries the church on the amount they have in their budget designated for advertising. If given, the sales rep will design an ad campaign to use the entire amount with their company. Is that the best use of the church's money? Absolutely not.

The key to advertising is to put your product or service in front of the people you want to see it. For instance, if you have an event that is specifically designed for teenagers, then you would not want to advertise it on Fox News. Your target audience does not spend it's time watching the news.

Whatever needs be advertised must be researched to find the best connecting point for the ad. You must know your product and know which people would be interested in that product. Second, you must know the habits of your target audience. Third, you must use that information and place your ad in front of the habits of your target audience. Finally you must keep in mind two words, diversity and repetition. Over the next few days we will cover the following steps in detail:

  • How to determine the habits of your target audience.
  • How to connect your ad to your target audience.
  • What is diversity and and repetition and why is it important to a successful ad campaign. 
Don't let one particular advertising sales representative take all of your budget funds for their media product. It is not the best use of your funds.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Realizing Facebook for Advertising

We just spent some time talking about using Twitter to advertise and connect with a target audience. If you did not see it, you can read it here. Facebook offers the same opportunity to connect to an audience, however some options are limited due to user profile setup options. Facebook also has a few other tools that you can and should use to connect to your desired group.

First, there is the "pay per click" or "pay per impression" way of reaching your target demographic. This is a very unique way of advertising a product or service. You can design your advertising campaign to reach a very narrow audience defined by gender, occupation, location, and various other defining factors. If you have ever used Google advertisement you will find this works in a similar way but with a social media flavor. This type of advertising works outside your scope of friends and includes anyone who has an account of Facebook. In another post I expressed some trouble using Facebook for paid advertising that is not found using the same methods of other companies. You can read about it here.

Another way to advertise on Facebook is the Group Page. You can setup a Group Page and allow others to become member of the group. You can share ideas, product information, and anything else you want others in the group to know. Facebook Group Pages are also an excellent feedback resource of your audience as they can post against the group. Some organizations use this for offering product support. Group Pages are a more closely connected group of people and may not suit your goals.

Facebook also offers what is called the Fan Page. It is here that others can become "fans" of your product or organization. It is easy to use this method to create branding and advertise your products or services. As you post against your page, theoretically others should be able to see your posts. This option is more loosely defined and people usually connect to a Fan Page because they like your organization or products.

With Fan and Group Pages organizations are seeing great opportunities to share their messages. There is an element of concern. Many businesses and organizations are seeing a decline in how their posts are reaching their audiences. Facebook in its ever changing design scheme is attempting only show relevant information to their customer base. Through this process there has been concern over the diminishing effect of posting through Groups, Fan Pages, and even your Individual Page.

The concern is still very new, however it is something you need to keep an eye on. You don't want to spend a lot of effort trying to increase your traffic only to find that Facebook is not showing everything to those connected to your pages.

Have fun but monitor your results!

Advertising for Churches - Diversity and Repitition

Of course this series is in no way a comprehensive advertising
course, but I hope it is a tool to better help you prepare for any
advertising you may want to do.

The final segment in this series is called Diversity and Repetition. These two characteristics are important to a successful ad campaign.

First, your advertisement needs diversity. You stand a greater chance of success utilizing more than one medium for your campaign. For example, use the list of advertising platforms created in the earlier step to give your advertisement some diversity. If you prioritized social media and television for your top two, then split your advertisement between those. If you had an extensive list of places to present your ads then diversify in your top categories as your budget will allow. Keep in mind, however, that in any ad campaign you need plenty of saturation in the medium you choose so don't sacrifice saturation in order to
diversify. Your budget will dictate the amount of diversity you can
have.

Second, Repitition should not be overlooked. When you start your ad campaign it should include enough frequency (Repetition) that it will appear in front of the greatest number of your demographic audience. Repitition also creates memory in your target audience and therefore is very important.

Thanks for spending some time with me on the subject of advertisement basics.

Advertising for Churches - Determining Demographic Habits

When you have a product or service you want others to take part in then the first step you need to do is define the target group of people you want. This should be the easiest part of the whole process. If your event is for teenagers then you know your target audience is teenagers.

Next you need to find the habits of your audience. Start here by making a list and think outside of the church zone. In other words, write down things such as:

Watch music television networks
High School Sports
Facebook
Heavy music listeners
Spends 40 hours a week in school
Movie theater goers

Spend some time in this area because it will make the next steps easier.

Going through this process helps you to see who you want your
advertising in front of and where you need to place your ads.

Next, we will look at how to get your message in front of your audience.

Advertising for Churches - Connecting to Your Demographic

We last spoke about determining your target demographic. If you spent quality time in this area defining who you were wanting to market your products or services to then it will greatly help you in this step.

Let's take the sample list of habits for teens that we listed in the last post.

Watch music television networks
High School Sports
Facebook
Heavy music listeners
Spends 40 hours a week in school
Movie theater goers

Now we have to spend some time determining what forms of media are available for each of those areas. To give you an example, we will work through a few of these.

Watch music television networks - teens are obviously what drives the music industry. Yes we all love music but teenagers monetarily consume more music than any other demographic. So, what do they watch or listen to? To answer that we have to list out all of the areas that they listen or view music.

MTV
VH1
"Top 40" Contemporary Radio Stations
ITunes

We also know teens are Social Media lovers. Next make a list of social media websites they frequent every day such as Facebook. Continue this
process through all of the areas of interest your target demographic displays. Next, determine the methods of advertising through all of the
targets of interest. For example, Facebook uses Pay per Click or Pay per Thousand impressions. You can actually target region and demographic characteristics through most social media advertising.

Radio station advertising is usually done by radio commercials. Be careful with radio though, because you only want to advertise during the
times they are listening. This is true even on their favorite station.
Once you have exhausted the entire list of advertising methods then you need to begin gathering the pricing of these methods as well as determine the priority of the different habits of the demographic. You will notice very quickly that some advertising media avenues are far
more expensive than others. This is one of the reasons you need to
prioritize the list of habits. If the number one priority is too
expensive for your budget, then you may want to consider the number two priority. This should give you an idea of where you should be spending your money.

One thing you need to note is the fact that advertising results are
better seen when you diversify your advertising money into different advertising media. We will discuss this in the next post.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Realizing Twitter

Twitter has been a fascinating mode of social media. Developed in 2006 as a companion to text messaging, it has evolved to what is called micro-blogging. Limited to 140 characters this mode of media is being used to help police do their job as well as politicians gain an advantage in the political race. The largest use by far is social networking. With a user base approaching 500 million any organization would be foolish to ignore this as a means of reaching a target audience.

Twitter is being used by various organizations to promote products and services.
Imagine having a new product on the market and designing an advertising campaign that will allow others to help you spread the word. That would be almost as good as having people buy a tee-shirt with your logo printed on the front. Believe it or not, that is happening every day through the services of Twitter.

Companies create a text style of message, no more than one or two sentences, and post it on the Twitter network. Anyone following or searching for you or your products can see your latest report and can share it with others. You can send your message virtually as many times a day as you want.

Companies who have seen success utilizing this method of communication do more than just post a message about their product. They also share pictures of their products, videos of their products in action, and encourage people who use their products to do the same. It makes the consumer feel as if they are part of the "club" so to speak.

Very few modes of communication allow organizations to monitor the feedback of others. Twitter is an exception to this rule. By using a hash tag, a word preceded by the # sign, you can create a topic or group of messages concerning that subject identified by that word. For instance, if I wanted to categorize everything I mentioned against the subject of Realize Media, then I would create the hash tag #realizemedia.

Everything I said would be followed by the hash tag. People replying or knowing the Realize Media product would reply using the hash tag or add the hash tag to their tweet.

Twitter makes it easy to monitor hash tags. Therefore, anyone using that hash tag I could see what they said. Does this mean that Twitter is not a private form of social networking? Not necessarily. Your personal information can be set to private, however, any message you post publicly will be viewable by all. By following words or hash tags one can glean valuable information concerning problems or trends.
So if you are really excited about your product or service and want to tell everyone you know, sign up on Twitter and share your passion!

#realizemedia




Thursday, November 1, 2012

Is Social Media Something I Need to Use to Advertise?

Is social media, such as Facebook and Twitter, something that needs consideration when advertising an organization? The quick and easy answer is yes! However, that is not all I want to leave you with. Advertising your organization, product, or service can be tricky utilizing social media. For example, Facebook has the option to advertise by using their paid advertising product. This method is a very effective way of advertising because you can target your demographic and narrow it down to focused interests. You can even specify what regions your ad displays. Facebook advertising utilizes a similar concept as the Google adwords model, however, it seems to be a little more greedy than that of Google. For example, if you do your homework with Google you can actually get significant returns for your advertisement campaign without costing a fortune (that is if you do your homework). Facebook advertisers, on the other hand, frequently experience the problem of ads ceasing to run due to low bid amount. You can actually increase the amount on a daily basis and still frequently experience the same situation. There seems to be no logical cause for this. I have even applied the principles of re-focusing content words with demographic targets and still experience the same frustrations. On the other hand, performing similar actions with Google has produced satisfying results. This problem has caused many advertisers to quit using Facebook paid advertising as a means to pawn their products.

Remember the old saying "word of mouth is the best means of advertisement"? This is very true in social media. You do not have to spend a fortune to drive someone to your organization, product, or service. Keep in mind, however, people don't want you to bombard them with frequent blurbs of your product. If you are creative you can actually drive people to a website, blog, or article about your service without it looking like an advertisement. Groups and Fan Pages are actually a good way to accomplish this task. People also have an interest in you as a person rather than your product, so keep the personal pictures and thoughts active.

Twitter has been around a while but it still is increasing in popularity. Many companies are using this form of social media, also called a Micro-blog, to create an active presence in the Internet community. The old advertising technique of placing your name frequently in front of your audience is where Twitter shines. Political Candidates, Utility Companies, Banks, and authors place their comments and thoughts frequently to keep their names fresh in people's minds. They use Twitter to announce product releases and even offer technical support.

Twitter is also a great way to see what people say about your products and services through monitoring of #hashtags. I will try to cover Twitter and other elements of social media in detail in future posts so I won't go into it now.

There are many different forms of social media and if well planned they can be a benefit to your organization.

- Doug

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Rethinking Your Audience

Looking at a church brochure the other day screamed of problems. The artwork looked like the traditional Greek architecture of the building, while at the same time they were advertising to an early twenties demographic. What a disaster! They were trying to connect what one generation thought was important with a generation that could care less about it. The result was a waste of effort and resources.

To connect an ad to a demographic you must get into the mind of your target audience. You must know their interest and design accordingly. If you are a successful fisherman then the process is similar. Identify the fish, bait with its favorite food, place it in front of their face, and reel in the catch.

Keep in mind it is not always what we like that attracts others. You must know your target audience and what is attractive to them. So the next time you have something to offer someone, package it in a way that is familiar and attractive to them. You might just catch that fish.

Doug

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Its Time to be More Focused

With years of "piddling" with a blog thats had a large spectrum of thought and message, I have come to the conclusion that it is time to be more focused. The www.dougjohnson.net blog will still exist and operate under my daily experiences, but starting today I am revealing a new Media Focused site. This is called Realize Media

This site will be devoted to the media industry (or what I like to call the media machine). You will find howto's, product reviews, industry trends, and much more. I hope that you will find it to be a valuable resource. If you do, please share with your friends and feel free to link to us.

Talk to you soon,
Doug Johnson