Thursday, August 27, 2009

Nothing Up My Sleeve....

Print advertising reminds me of a card trick.

I'm not saying marketing is magic. Or that advertising is about trickery. Far from it.

In fact, I think advertising is one of the few professions that's virtually transparent.

If you're a keen observer (think Sherlock Holmes), you can study successful advertising as your textbook. That's because there are few advertising secrets. (Don't get me wrong. I don't mean it's easy. Or there aren't "tricks" of the trade. Or that anyone can become a writer or designer. But the basics are just -- obvious.)

How can I say that? Look at any successful ad. Nothing's hidden. You don't have to reverse engineer it to figure out how it works. It's all there for the world to see.

Every successful ad stands on the shoulders of every successful ad before it. But not every ad is successful. And I guess that's what makes the learning curve so steep. Just because a company is wildly successful doesn't mean all their advertising is.

So, first you need to know what ads work. Then, you need to figure out why. Look closely. How do the images, headline, copy and layout work together? What's the message? What makes it memorable? Why does a prospect want to take the next step?

And, like a card trick, sometimes it's not what you see but what you don't see. More on that in another marketing tip...

Takeaway: What can you learn from your biggest competition's ads? From ads for a similar product? From ads in a totally unrelated industry?

Thursday, August 20, 2009

U2, Andy

You may have missed my marketing tip the last two weeks. You may have not.

But I know Andy Kopp missed me. That's because he emailed to tell me.

I'm fortunate. Someone noticed. In a 2007 tip I touched on the importance of advertising continuity to keep your brand on top of a prospect's mind. The same goes for personal selling.

Most customers and prospects won't take the time to tell you they missed your ads or your sales calls They'll just forget you.

In this age of technology, there is no excuse for being out of touch. You can automate calling, faxing, texting, or emailing your contacts.

In fact, with a service like Constant Contact you can email all your contacts and measure the results for a nominal cost. (Click on the ad on the right for a free 30-day trial of Constant Contact.)

But the technology doesn't work by itself. Someone still needs to generate the contact.

I suggest you keep an electronic file of information you'd like to share with contacts. Then, on a regular basis (weekly, monthly, quarterly, etc.) email your contact list a personal note. Tell them about a sale, a new product, or give them a link you think they'll find of interest. With Constant Contact, you can personalize each email and you'll get a report telling you how many people opened your email, who they are, and what links in your email they clicked.

You can even schedule your emails weeks in advance. In case you're on vacation or too busy, like I was the last week and the week before.

Sorry. I'll try better to keep in touch.