The Power of Outdoor Advertising

To a general advertiser outdoor advertising is worthy of consideration. Outdoor advertising is considered as one of the oldest form of advertising. Posting bills on wooden boards in the late 19th century led to the birth of the term billboard. Today, outdoor advertising includes not only billboards but also car cards in public transportation, displays in airports, ski areas, and sports arenas and in-store displays among others. A very popular option now is digital outdoor advertising. Messages rotate every eight (8) seconds and the creative can change quickly.

Consider this scenario: you were on your way to the office and without even looking at the morning paper you found out that your favorite boutique is opening in the neighborhood. Or you were on your way home from work when you find out that a major company you would love to work for is hiring – and this you knew without even having your own radio on. How did all these happen? Through outdoor advertising.

Outdoor advertising is very powerful and effective. It has the ability to target consumers quickly and accurately. Likewise, it can create a strong visual impression that reinforces continuity and name recognition, making your overall marketing campaign even more effective. According to studies, more and more consumers are spending time than ever driving or riding in cars and walking in cities. This means that customers are exposed to outdoor advertising more than ever before. Hence, making use of outdoor advertising can significantly increase your chance of attracting more customers.

Designing and creating an outdoor advertising is like creating a visual storytelling. The expression of an idea can surprise viewers with words or excite them with pictures. Humor is a powerful design choice for outdoor advertising. The character of outdoor advertising requires a clear message, a strong brand identity and a fast impact. Outdoor advertising shares many communication characteristics with other media, but it is the differences that truly determine what will be effective design elements for an advertisement. One rule of thumb iin outdoor advertising is to try and keep the message to six or seven words at most.

So what could outdoor advertising do that traditional advertising can’t? Outdoor advertising has better advantage when it comes to a regional or national showing. And outdoor advertising can reinforce the primary message delivered through broadcast or print. Additionally, outdoor advertising requires low active processing because consumers receive its messages when they are in an inactive state of mind. Often, commuters sit idle in their vehicles when outdoor messages are presented so their mood is under stimulated. This is a good opportunity for advertisers because well-presented outdoor designs will grab attention when commuters are deprived of other creative stimulation.

Thus, keep in mind that impressive advertising is essential for the long-term success of any brand, since advertising works best when an individual consumer learns that a product or service is a good choice for them.

9 Low Cost/No Cost Marketing Tips & Techniques

Do you need to get more clients? Are you trying to get your first client? Is your marketing budget equivalent to the cost of a Happy Meal? The following tips and techniques are not by any means hidden secrets, but they are some of the most overlooked ways to market a small business today.

1. Know your target audience.

As silly as it sounds, many small business owners kick off a marketing campaign without regard to whom they want to target. If you send out a coupon for NASCAR tickets to the first 1,000 people in the phone book, some will undoubtedly be thrilled and will do what’s necessary to earn the tickets (akin to dropping 1,000 mailers from an airplane — some will hit the target). But just imagine the response rate if you sent out the same 1,000 NASCAR ticket coupons to only those people who attended a NASCAR event in the last year. You’ve gone from wildly shooting to steadily aiming your campaign, thus increasing your response rate and decreasing your cost per customer.

2. Publish an e-zine (or newsletter).

Publishing an e-zine or print newsletter (even as short as a page) is a great way to keep in touch with your customers and clients. You can produce one online using a program such as Constant Contact for little to no money and can even set your e-zines up in advance using easy-to-understand templates.

3. Have a website and keep it updated.

All businesses, no matter your size or field, need a website these days. You can get a domain name for as little as $2.95/year and, using templates, have a basic design done in a few hours. Once your customers, clients, and potential customers and clients have visited your website, they will find fresh, quality content in the form of new e-zines, articles, blog posts and tips. This will keep them, and the search engine spiders, coming back for more.

4. Opportunity is calling.

While not usually viewed as a marketing technique, answering the phone and follow-up is critical in this day and age of limited valuable time and impersonal service. Have you ever called someone only to not get a call-back or sent an email and waited days for a response? More clients and prospects become lost revenue these days due to inadequate, or non-existent follow-up. If you receive a phone call from a prospective client or from an existing client, call him back as soon as possible or, better yet, immediately!

5. Get involved online.

Find out where your target audience hangs out and participate in those online discussion groups and forums. Yahoo Groups is a great place to find a wide variety of discussion groups. Several business owners also belong to Ryze — an online networking forum. By consistently offering your help to others, you will position yourself as an expert that others will turn to when the time is right for them.

6. Get involved offline.

Getting involved with local organizations can help to build your reputation as a “doer”, a “go getter” or just a really dependable individual (all things which will help your business). Just remember that you are representing your business in everything you do and act accordingly.

7. Word of Mouth/Referrals.

We’ve all heard the saying that a happy customer tells somewhere between 1 and 3 people about her experience while an unhappy customer tells up to 12 people about hers. Keep your customers happy, ask for feedback as to what you could do better, and once you know they’re happy, then ask for a referral. People generally are willing to help those they like.

8. Use postcards.

Whether you are an online-only business, a brick & mortar establishment or a hybrid, you can effectively use postcards to market your business. Postcards are easy to do, inexpensive to mail and have a high readership. Many people associate postcards with personal notes from friends and family and don’t even think before they turn it over to read the message. With this method, you have already gotten into the hands of many people that wouldn’t take the time to open junk mail.

9. Have others do it for you or with you.

Never underestimate the power of cooperation and reciprocal agreements. Is there a vendor that has a related, but not directly competitive, target audience to yours? If so, form a strategic alliance where you recommend his products/services and he recommends yours. For example, a movie theater and a restaurant could share customer information and play off each other for promotions.

While many of the above tips and techniques will arouse the “DUH” response, it’s constantly surprising to me how many businesses – small and large – overlook these basic items in their day-to-day marketing and operations.

3 Reasons Postcards Are The Best Way To Advertise

When I say postcard, maybe you think of the old fashioned, jagged edged dull pieces of card stock. Think again! Today’s postcards are vibrant, high-impact creations with images so real that it’ll jump off the page at you. And the best thing about them…

1. They’re Short and Personal
Let’s face it, people just don’t have time to sort through a lot of advertisements and junk mail. If the truth be known, they immediately identify ads and pitch them into the trash without ever slitting the envelope.

Postcards get read! It’s already open, and the message is “in your face” without exerting any effort to absorb it. Even if the reader isn’t trying to read it, he’ll get the impact of the short message before he tosses it.

Personal messages have a greater appeal than mass mailings. Postcards keep the old time charm of a personal greeting while implement new high tech marketing strategies… a combination for success.

2. They’re Easy And Cost Effective
Hey even the postage for a postcard is cheaper! Go to your printer and have them print you up several thousand for 7 or 8 cents apiece. Not too bad! For about 30 cents you have a cutting edge, high impact marketing tool ready to be put to use.

You don’t even have to bother with putting them in the mail. Many print warehouses will take care of it for you. Hey, what could be easier?

3. They Keep Your Marketing Strategy Hidden From Competitors
Do you get tired of spending countless hours agonizing over new marketing strategies, only the have your competitors jump right in and ape your campaign? Yeah, it’s pretty frustrating, but hard to do anything about. Everything you do is right in front of them shouting “Copy Me.”

Postcards are private interactions with the individuals who read them. It’s a one-on-one campaign that lets you keep the results quiet from prying eyes. Heck, they won’t even know what you’re doing, much less how to copy it.

There’s another sneak tactic that I haven’t mentioned yet… using postcards to direct traffic to your Website. That’s right! Most of us think we need to use Internet marketing tools to drive up our Internet sales. NOT SO! That’s what everyone else is doing, but think about it. A postcard with your slogan and visible information that directs the reader to your Website… yeah, let’s hope the competition doesn’t catch on for quite a while!

There’s not another marketing campaign that can guarantee 100 percent readership! It just makes sense that when more people read your ad, it will be more effective. Use postcards to market and count on a high response rate.