No prizes for guessing which movie inspired this poster, but we’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments.
Small Business Advertising on Twitter
I signed up for a trial of Promoted Products on Twitter – the twitter equivalent of Google PPC – but sadly as I don’t have a US billing address I can only watch from the sidelines. But for those smaller businesses on the other side of the pond, it’s worth thinking about advertising on Twitter.
You can see in the short video below what your options are, but in summary:
1. Promoted Accounts
Twitter matches your interests, with the interests of potential followers. It then recommends you to those potential followers. Simple. If your objective is to grow your following, this is the best option for you.
2. Promoted Tweets
Twitter automatically promotes your best performing tweets to people who match your interests. If you want engagement and click throughs, this is the option for you.
For both you only pay per action.
In others you only pay when you gain a new follower, or when someone engages with your tweet. You set a daily budget limit and away you go.
Sounds good to me. Now we just need it to be live for small businesses in the UK too. (By the way, thanks American Express for promoting that offer to UK Cardholders who aren’t eligible).
When to Use a QR Code?
Sat on the tube this morning an advert for British Airways (I think) caught my eye. Not the content, but the fact the fact it had a QR code as the call to action. This seemed a little odd to me, given tube trains spend most of their life underground where there isn’t currently access to the Internet.
A similar thought occurred to me walking past a hotel currently being built in Moorgate. On the side of the building works, about 50ft above street level, is a massive banner featuring a QR code. The code must be at least a metre square in size. You can of course pick up an Internet connection outside in Central London, but how would you scan a code at that height and of that size?
Then of course there are the QR codes you see on some television shows. The BBC trialled this recently on a cookery show, where you were invited to scan the code on your television screen to get to the recipe. The few seconds available didn’t even give me time to reach my phone, let alone start up the scanner app.
These to me are all good examples of when not to use a QR code. You can find a few more on a good blog post rant about QR codes here.
When then should you use a QR code?
Here’s a simple checklist to work with. If you can satisfy each of these points then you could think about using a QR code in your campaign:
- Your target audience is tech savvy and likely to have a smartphone
- You have a landing page optimised to work on a mobile phone
- Your call to action does not require downloading a large file, completing a long subscribe form, or doing anything that will eat up a lot of bandwidth
- Your QR code will be in a position where it is easy to scan and where there will be an internet connection
- You have an offer or call to action based on real value for your target audience
QR codes are quick, easy, convenient and trackable, but ultimately not worth the ink if you don’t meet these criteria. Perhaps a more simple vanity URL would be a better option for your campaign.
Please let us know if you have used QR codes succesfully. We would love to give some examples of best practice case studies here on the blog.
I spotted an interesting story in the Evening Standard last week about ambush marketing – the idea that you unofficially promote your product at an event without actually sponsoring the event. The example cited the Bavarian beer company who sneaked 30 or so blond models into a world cup football match recently, catching the world’s attention.
Small Business Advertising
I love entertaining TV advertising. This one by Nike is a classic example of big brand advertising at its best – funny, carrying a message, memorable and so much more. But as a small business can you use brand advertising as a marketing tool?
How to Avoid Advertising Disasters
I’ve been working with small businesses for long enough to know that most standard advertising is fairly ineffective for generating sales pipeline. Sadly I have learnt this the hard way, by wasting money on adverts that have generated a negative return on investment – the negative element being the loss of cash and moral! So why then do I occasionally get caught out by advertising sales reps?
A question I had to ask myself recently when I booked a quarter page ad in a publication in London that turned out to be a bit of a toad. The reason I would hazard a guess is twofold:
1. the skill of the sales rep in presenting a compelling opportunity, and
2. the client’s real need for new leads in these difficult economic conditions made me think twice
Of course when I learnt my advice on this one was a little wayward, I did the only decent thing and offered to cover the cost of the advert should the promised sales leads not appear. Watch this space to see if I have to get my cheque book out.
The other result is that I’ve decided to compile a checklist of questions I must ask and fully understand before I place an order. With the aim of helping everyone to get a better return on their advertising investment, I thought I’d share this here.
- Is the publication readership the same as my target audience / decision maker? (note it is important to really understand your target audience first!)
- Do I clearly understand the target audience description provided by the publication?
- Have I heard of the publication or is it launching?
- What is the format of the publication – A4, A5, glossy, newspaper, portrait, landscape, colour or black and white etc?
- Exactly what size will the advert be?
- Can I secure a guaranteed right hand page? (important as an advert placed on a right hand page generally outperforms those on the left hand page)
- Are any of my competitors advertising?
- What is the publication date?
- What is the publication’s reach – not just the circulation, but total reach?
- Will they offer any guarantees – cost per enquiry for example? (unlikely but worth asking)
- Can the publisher help to put together the creative?
- Have any of my competitors / peers advertised in the publication and if so what results did they achieve? (also, could I have their contact details so I can talk to them and find out about their experiences?)
- What is the total price?
These questions will help me to better understand whether the opportunity will present a return on investment i.e. a value of sales greater than the cost of the advertising. Ultimately, there are lots of other factors which will impact the success of the advert which are not the responsibility of the publication.
In particular, the quality of the text and images used in the advert and the strength of the call to action. For some guidelines on good advert copywriting, check out this post by freelance advertising copywriter John Kuraoka.
I’d very much like to hear the experiences of other small business advertisers as to how you measure and interpret whether an opportunity will present good value?
Controversial Advertising Makes Waves
Here is the recent Mr T advert for Snickers that was cancelled by Mars as it was deemed to include anti-gay references. It seems to me that by ensuring the advert was cancelled, it has actually generated more coverage, made the video viral and probably enabled it to create a bigger splash.
You can vote for yourself in the comments as to whether you think it is offensive or anti gay…
[youtube 0bUxi_Eo6fU] UPDATE the video owner has disabled embedding, but you can view the clip by following this link:
Is This a Viral?
I came across the fantastic Viral Video Chart today and spotted an ad for the Wii that seems to be pretty popular right now. See for yourself below, can anyone explain why this might have viral marketing qualities..?
Or do you think Nintendo has nothing to do with this..?
PS I hope I haven’t alienated any female readers!!
Fantastic comment from Pressure Washer reviews. Thanks for introducing me to the remake, which just goes to show how viral this is – even if it wasn’t seeded by Nintendo…
Enduring the worst, to bring you the best..
Absolutely classic advertising!
Happy easter everyone!
Subliminal Advertising For You
Recently I posted a YouTube video of Derren Brown’s phenomenal subliminal advertising exercise. The reaction I got in the comments got me to thinking that it truly is an interesting concept to play around with.
Now if you read my blog you’ll know my interest in marketing is mostly in working with small businesses. By their very nature small companies don’t do a great deal of advertising, or when they do, nothing that really has the exposure you’d need to influence an audience subliminally. Nor would they really need to take this mass market approach. But I can’t get away from thinking this could be a powerful tool for other audiences i.e. not necessarily customers.
With this in mind, I’m planning my own little experiment with a client of mine. To give you a little background to the client, it is a small professional services company that’s doing fantastically well. So well in fact that it’s having to move the focus of its marketing programmes from customer acquisition, to customer satisfaction.
The team all want to do a good job and work hard, but have yet to grasp the importance of keeping clients satisfied. Or indeed the need to measure satisfaction levels on a regular basis. Of course we all know that customer sat is crucial for the long term health of the business.
What I plan to do is rather than push on them the need work towards and measure customer satisfaction, I intend to leave subliminal messages in their offices that might encourage them to agree with my way of thinking.
For example, if I collect a dozen different customer satisfaction surveys from big brands and leave them on the meeting room table, will this catch their eyes. Could this demonstrate that other successful companies are doing this and therefore it’s important for them too?
Now clearly I don’t have much of a plan yet, but I intend to get some ideas down and work this through with the Managing Director. This way we can plan for and measure any change in attitude – if any at all. So watch this space, I’ll tell you all how it progresses.
Any ideas would be much appreciated. What audio visual clues could I leave to highlight the importance of customer satisfaction, without pushing it down their throats.