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Don’t Throw Away Another Dollar on Advertising till You Read This

I can’t believe how long I’ve been involved in advertising, marketing, copywriting, etc without anyone having recommended INFLUENCE: The Psychology of Persuasion by Dr. Robert Cialdini to me before.

I purchased the audio book version (Wow, someone is still creating a CD version) and started listening while driving to work. The reading is a little dry, but the content of the book is really eye-opening. The person who recommended it to me was talking in terms of advertising, but frankly I thought it shed light on a huge variety of topics — anything from cult mentality to the origins of the Watergate break-in.

Some of the stories and evidence are kind of scary, but the concepts are all based on facts with plenty of entertaining examples to bring those facts to life. Before you spend one more dollar on advertising, you HAVE to read this book and understand Continue reading

5 Tips for Crafting an Effective Email Newsletter

Email newsletters are the most efficient and successful way to get connected and stay connected to your customer base and future prospects. However, it’s important to understand the difference between throwing together a collection of useful information and creating an attractive, effective newsletter than will reach your audience. Consider the following tips when constructing a newsletter for your company.

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Five Free Online Advertising Ideas for Your Small Budget Business

For every new business launched on the market, coming up with a couple of free advertising ideas is must, no matter what marketing campaigns may be run later. Investments are hard to make when the business is not bringing any profits, which is why everything that comes for free should be exploited.

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How To Analyze Open-Ended Customer Feedback

If you want positive word-of-mouth advertising, then you need happy customers. If you want happy customers, then you need to get customer feedback and figure out what to do with it. Today’s guest post explains how to analyze open-ended customer feedback.

After the creation and administration of real-time customer satisfaction reports, there is a lot of work to be done with analysis. Many surveys that are given to consumers are ones that involve choosing the best answers and filling in radial buttons. These surveys are often useful when only a certain number of answers are needed by the research and development, as well as outreach, teams. However, there are a number of surveys in which feedback is allowed to be given in the form of an open-ended answer. These can be much more difficult and time consuming to analyze.
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Life 101: 5 Marketing Tips You Never Learned In Business School

Marketing Tips
1. Different marketing strategies suit different personalities.

While marketing courses will teach you the multitudes of different marketing methods out there, the truth is that for the small business owner, there may be only a handful that really suit you and your business. You want to find what works for you and weed out those marketing avenues best suited for someone else. For example, if you craft a great product but have an introverted or socially awkward personality, you probably want to avoid networking groups. Instead, focus on getting your product itself noticed. Use your strengths when you market, not your weaknesses.

2. Regularly ask your customers and staff for input.

When it comes to brainstorming, two heads are better than one. Continue reading

Advertising Ideas: Keep an Open Mind

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Advertising that Sticks

My last post was about effective promotions at trade shows. But attracting people to your booth and handing them a corporate freebie does no good unless that exchange actually results in the booth visitor becoming a customer, right? So, what are you going to put on your corporate freebie, trade booth banner, or handout? Obviously, you have to have a way for the customer to find you again: a website, phone number, street address. But that’s not enough. You want something that appeals to that potential customer, makes them want to BE a customer, and sticks in their brain.

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Trade Show Tips

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Using Humor to Get Publicity

A PR agent, a rabbi and a minister go into a bar…

That could be the start of a joke, but it is the start of this article on when and how to use humor in your publicity.

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Advertising Option: Social Networking for Freelancers

In addition to traditional advertising, freelancers may want to consider social networking to promote their services and products. This guest post is written by Derek Kirk, a freelance travel writer and copy editor.

When I started pursuing my freelance career, all I could think about was getting out of the office. At first, it didn’t occur to me how much networking was actually taking place across the tops of cubicles and at the water cooler. When you make the leap to working from home, you miss out on serious networking potential, and you have to supplement this one way or another. Luckily, there are social networking communities for freelancers.

The Giants of Social Media

Take a moment and consider the following: China is the world’s most-populous country, with more than 1.3 billion residents, and India is right behind it with just over 1.2 billion. If Facebook were a nation-state and its netizens were bona fide citizens, then it would be the world’s third-most-populous country. Not only that, Continue reading

Direct Response Advertising Without Celebrities Saves Money And Increases Revenue

E+M Advertising has worked with celebrities, both high and lower profile, for various ad needs. However, while there are benefits in terms of recognition and awareness to featuring a celebrity in advertising, there are negatives that are hard to overcome.

Direct response advertising judges success and failure on the amount of potentials customers who call or go online to respond to the ad. Using celebrities as spokespersons for direct response advertising is different from mainstream agencies. A majority of the products and services using direct response focuses on a need to demonstrate the product while describing product’s benefits. The products advertised need demonstration or sharp focus on the way those items perform and don’t need to use celebrities as talent. Celebrities can take the focus off the product and onto the celebrity. Consumers don’t remember the product, but would recall Continue reading

Different Advertising Idea — Opposite of Benefit Selling

Everyone knows that to sell, you have to talk about benefits to potential buyers. You have to motivate buyers to want your product and you can best do so by helping them picture the benefit to themselves. But Simon Sinek has a different idea about advertising or causing others to take any action, whether it is making a purchase, working longer hours, or voting for a political candidate. You can listen to him explain it, and the secret formula that he believes is what made Apple successful, here:

One part of what he says DOES line up with every marketing, copywriter and advertising expert that I’ve ever heard which is: Continue reading

Biggest difference between Google Adwords and Facebook Advertising

To understand the difference between advertising using Google Adwords and advertising on Facebook, you have to understand why people visit Google versus why they visit Facebook.

People visit Google (or type a word or phrase into their Google toolbar) because they are looking for information, often times to solve a problem. This may or may not be the sort of issue they want to share with others. For instance those searching on hemorrhoids or hemorrhoid treatments, probably would prefer Continue reading

Advertising Ideas That Make People Work For You

There’s no form of advertising that’s more effective than word of mouth. When customers spread a brand on their own accord, it’s free advertising and it is advertising of the highest quality. Instead of businesses spending inordinate amounts of time trying to convince potential consumers that a brand or product is worthwhile, there are agents doing the work for free. If companies can regularly find ways for individuals to do their marketing for them, they can save a lot of time, energy, and money in the process. Continue reading

What Makes Users actually CLICK on Online Ads?

There’s a lot of variety in the world of online advertisements. Some ads are simple static images, while others go to great lengths to grab a user’s attention with moving graphics, video, or sound. There is a distinct dichotomy between ad styles and the users who are most likely to take action on them. Seasoned internet veterans may simply glance past static ads, only noticing those that innovate to draw attention. Novice internet users may be more engaged by simpler ads that are easy to read and act upon.

On the completely opposite side of the spectrum, there’s a vast subset of internet users who loathe any advertisements that interfere with the usability and design of a site in any way. Advertisement ideas which impede a user’s experience in any way may even result in individual’s blacklisting that company and avoiding their products or services altogether. Businesses and advertisers have to be careful in the modern era of the internet to find a balance with advertisements that don’t go too far, but still take steps that lead to actionable results.

A good place to start trying to figure out what makes some online ads effective and others just a giant waste of money is to look at the ads that you are taking action on. Continue reading

Publicity Versus Standard Advertising Ideas

The question of publicity versus standard advertising is a good one. Answering it raises further questions about which is more effective, and which kinds of audiences are best suited to each. Is the generic and randomly targeted nature of publicity enough to bring in potential customers, or does the targeted nature of advertising provide substantial advantage in a saturated market with little attention span? Solving the question of publicity versus advertising isn’t an easy task, but looking at an example might get one a little closer to the correct answer.

The recent IBM publicity stunt that involved the Watson computer in the famous game-show Jeopardy is a perfect example.

Instead of spending millions of dollars on a widespread advertising campaign to targeted markets, IBM used an asset they already had, the Watson computer, and put it in a national spotlight. Continue reading

Mobile Advertising Ideas Moving Forward

The world of mobile advertising is still in its infancy despite mobile phones reaching full market penetration years ago. With the ever-increasing share of people’s time being dedicated to mobile apps, mobile advertising becomes a more important aspect of every business’ marketing initiative, whether the business is online or not. Local and national business alike have to take advantage of the opportunities that mobile advertising offers before they fall too far behind the advancing market, losing their share of the mobile space and consumers’ attention.

Mobile advertising ideas have been limited in creativity and execution until recently. Simple text ads that would just occupy space at the bottom of an app’s screen were as complex as mobile ads got until the last year or two. With the advancing technology of cell phones and the apps that fill them, mobile ads have advanced recently as well. Video ads that play between levels of a game, or audio ads that play between songs on a streaming music app are much more common. Continue reading

What Color Is Your Advertising? How Color Theory Can Make Your Marketing More Effective

colors in advertisingGuest post written by Mike Brennan

If you’re planning a marketing or advertising campaign, color is sure to play a key role in the success of your venture. After all, it’s pretty much the first thing your consumers will notice*, making color your best – and sometimes only – chance to get a message across.

Use of color in most design for marketing and advertising is dictated by certain obvious requirements; the need to reflect a specific brand, as well as the attempt to communicate a certain mood dictated by the product itself.
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Bribing People to Be Your Friends and Pretend to ‘Like’ You

The idea of word-of-mouth advertising being important is not new, though online social media as a form of it is relatively new. People ARE definitely influenced by what other people like.

“Oh, look how long the line is for that restaurant that must be GOOD. We should try it.”

And you can substitute ‘movie’ or many other products for the word ‘restaurant’ and the same concept applies. I had read advice to new restaurants to park employee cars in customer parking until you get enough customers for spaces to be hard to find. I know I once worked a fundraiser food booth at festival. Our business was very slow and we all looked a little too greedily at each passerby. After 10 or 15 minutes of this, I put my jacket on (masking the t-shirt that identified me as being with the group) and walked around to the front of the booth, ordered a hot dog and chatted with my co-workers while I ate the hotdog. In the 5-10 minutes that I stretched eating the hotdog into, we had 4 customers, versus none for the previous 15 minutes. Human psychology is definitely influenced by other’s actions. Why else would all those “bestselling” books splash how many copies they have sold all over their cover.

So, what’s this got to do with social media. Simple. Continue reading

Best Super Bowl 2012 Ads — What Was Your Favorite Commercial

Well I didn’t see too many of the Super Bowl commercials live, so I went through some “Top 10 Super Bowl Commercials” and watched those yesterday. And frankly only a couple of them even remained in my head, the one:

The Dog Strikes Back. Mostly the whole dog getting in shape sequence is just catchy and comical. Judging by it having 8 million views on YouTube 2 days after airing, I guess I’m not the only one. Do I remember what the ad was for? — sure the VW Beatle which has a clear image of it as the slim dog races down the street. Is it effective advertising? Will it make me buy a VW Beetle? hmmm…. not so much there.

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Something You May NOT Know about Claude Hopkins Author of Scientific Advertising

Claude Hopkins was born in 1866. His parents didn’t have much money, but Hopkins felt this helped him in the long run, saying he grew up expecting to work hard. Hopkins understood the common man, who struggles to feed his family and pay bills, because he came from that background. As young as 8, Claude Hopkins earned money by sweeping out two school houses and starting their fires each morning, then delivering both newspapers and ‘bills’ or single page ads to homes after school.

Hopkins father died when Claude was only 10 years old putting even greater financial strain on the family. His mother made a silver polish, which Claude molded into cakes, wrapped in decorative paper and sold door to door. Hopkins noticed that if he could talk his way into the house to demonstrate the polish that he was almost 10 times as likely to sell some.

While still a teenager, Hopkins worked as: a guest minister delivering sermons, a teacher, a fruit picker on his uncle’s farm. Then as a young adult, he worked as a bookkeeper and general errand boy at the Felt Boot Company. Within a year he had meet one of the investors in the Felt Boot Company, Mr. M. R. Bissell, president of Bissell Carpet Sweepers. Hopkins soon began working for Bissell Carpet Sweepers as a lowly assistant bookkeeper at $40 a month. Six months later he had been promoted to head bookkeeper and was earning $75 a month.

Despite this rapid rise, Hopkins wasn’t satisfied. He realized that he could go no further in this position, nor expect further raises — because a bookkeeper is an expense and a good businessman must limit expenses. He realized that he could never be worth more than another person doing the same quantity and quality of work. He recognized, from keeping the books, that the large salaries were paid to the salesmen, or to men in the factory that could reduce costs. These employees contributed to the business’s profits. Hopkins quickly saw the difference between an employee who contributes to profits, versus one who is only an expense. At that moment, he decided Continue reading

One Source of Free Online Advertising

If you are a small or a new business owner, then you’ll find yourself in a dilemma. You’ll quickly start to realize that you can’t earn revenue without marketing and advertising your business. On the other hand, marketing and advertising generally costs money. So, how in the world would you go about creating more money for your business through advertising, when you have little or no money for advertising?

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Craigslist: A Powerful Publicity Tool

This guest post was written by Joan Stewart of The Publicity Hound.

So you thought Craigslist was only for finding an apartment, a job, a car or a date.

Did you know that the wildly popular web portal can be one of the most valuable tools in your PR campaign, particularly if you’re looking for grassroots publicity targeted at certain cities or countries?

Craigslist is a giant community bulleting board, an almost entirely free classified ad service where you can buy, sell or give away just about anything. Started in the late 1990s by Craig Newmark, it began as a list only for San Francisco. But it became so popular that it’s turned into 190 separate lists for people in all 50 states in the United States and 35 other countries. The more than 80 discussion forums are devoted to a wide variety of topics.

More than 10 million people use Craigslist each month, so you never know who might be reading. No one edits your posts, but you’ll be kicked off the list if your message is obscene. You can’t post identical messages to more than one city or category, but you can post a photo if you wish.

Most posts are live for only 30 days. Posts in the events and classes categories are live for only 14 days. Once a message expires, you can repost it again and again. That means that if you’re advertising an event in December, you can start posting it as early as September, then keep reposting it whenever it expires.

Here’s just a small sample of the types of things Publicity Hounds can post on Craigslist:

Meetings, fund-raisers and information about volunteers for every kind of community group imaginable. These can include poker clubs and knitting circles, self-help groups, fraternal groups and service clubs.

Classes, activities and demonstrations at schools, colleges, universities or government agencies

Anything dealing with artwork, whether you’re looking for models or giving away art you no longer want

Political meetings, rallies, volunteer opportunities, fund-raisers and ranting

Musicians who are cutting new CDs, searching for band members or looking for gigs

Free tips from hospitals, health care agencies and doctors on everything from cholesterol to bird flu

Employee awards, open houses, new products and services, promotions and other news at local companies

Speaking engagements, book signings and other events hosted by authors, speakers and experts

Questions and comments about where to find the best bar, supermarket or barber shop in a certain community

What you’re doing in your small business, such as products and service you’re offering, or free classes you’re giving

Anything dealing with child care, from where to find a babysitter to the best nannies

Every post is free except if you’re posting job listings at the New York, San Francisco and Los Angeles lists.

I’ve been posting my business events to Craigslist for a few months, and I found the site difficult to navigate at first.

The categories can also be confusing. So before you decide Continue reading

Customer First? A Must for Advertising and Marketing

A lot of business advice talks about putting the customer first – from product design to marketing to product delivery and customer service. But what does putting the customer first really mean?

To put the customer first, you must identify your customer or potential customer and understand them.

Identifying your customer must be more Continue reading

Do you have the idea that advertising is a low-life profession

I grew up long before caller-id existed and my mother was rarely madder than when “some SALESMAN called up and interrupted” her at home.

Sales people were irritating to my mother whether they called on the phone, knocked on the door or even hovered too closely in the store.

It’s hard growing up with this mindset, oh and of course haven’t we all heard plenty of jokes about the “used car salesman type of personality” which means someone with low moral standards — so it’s hard to grow up with this and then aspire to sell and sell a lot.

But we all have to sell, whether we are selling the idea that we’re the best candidate for the job or selling life insurance policies. If we have a negative association with sales and advertising, then we better consider how to get over it.

I recommend Continue reading

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Expert Advice Column

Advertising in Sound Bites

Fame isn’t just for American Idol singers, Lady Gaga, and CEO's. Publicity coverage is available to anyone who has the right idea at the right time for the right audience— and can deliver it in the right way.

The last part is key. And it’s where most people fail.

Media coach, marketing strategist and author of Sell Yourself Without Selling Your Soul, Susan Harrow has been working with both famous and unknowns for over 20 years. She claims to have the secret sauce that can turn anyone into a media darling virtually overnight.

It’s called sound bites.

Click here for information on Susan's Sound Bites Course and tips on getting publicity
for your business (a.k.a Free Advertising).

Radio Publicity Guru

If you are looking for information about how to get on radio talk shows, then you should start at Alex Carroll's web site, get his free list of top radio talk shows, and discover if radio could be the right way for you to get your message out.