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Write Stuff Newsletter: Print Advertising

Print has a nearly 80% response rate; digital still plays second fiddle to visual call-to-action advertising in print media

In the digital age, there is a perception that if you put your business offering up on Facebook or other social media, that’s enough. While social media is an important part of getting your customer’s attention, it is only a small part of the mix. Although it is “free” in the sense that posting doesn’t cost you much more than time, it is transitory at best and the number of people who will see that post is based largely on who’s on line at any given time.

The rule of thumb for ad space purchases is to budget 10 percent of your annual income to advertising. In a small town that generally means radio and newspaper. It does not include charity or support giving to various school and community publications asking you to “buy an ad.” Advertising is any medium intended to reach the greatest number of people in which you include a call to action.

Countless advertising surveys indicate consumers respond more readily to print – whether it be magazines or newspapers – or through direct mail, than to digital media. One report stated that 79 percent of readers are more likely to respond to print ads than e-mailed or digital sales pitches.

My favorite explanation for effective advertising (Sales vs Marketing) –

Sales: A hitchhiker on the side of the road with a sign that reads, “To Dallas.”
Marketing: A hitchhiker on the side of the road with a sign that reads, “I want to get to Mom’s for Christmas.”

Your sales pitch is your goal. Marketing is knowing how to reach that goal by understanding the marketplace and your customer.

Print continues to be an important platform for getting your message out, but as the fellow going to Dallas figured out, tugging at the heartstrings of his audience was more important than saying outright what he wanted.

What works for you will depend on your expected outcome. A caution here, avoid buying advertising with the flawed expectation that one ad is going to result in customers flocking to your door in mass.

If you are selling furniture and your one page $2,000 full-color ad nets one sale of $500, you haven’t wasted your money, but perhaps you haven’t made best use of the space. Your goal is to make the ad as appealing as possible to assure you get enough sales to at the very least cover your cost. Five $500 sales would more than do it. The point is, manage your expectations. Know your reach. Understand your market.

Ad 1

Ad 1

Let’s say you have a restaurant and you want to run an ad that lets folks know you are now serving T-Bone steaks. Which of these two ads is more likely to work?

Ad 1 with address prominently displayed with a small picture of a T-Bone Steak and in small print “NOW SERVING T-BONE STEAKS,” is okay. You will likely get customers out of it, but the reality is the message has been lost.

Ad 2-2

Ad 2

Ad 2 with a grilling T-Bone steak prominently displayed, coupled with a 10% discount gives the buyer incentive to show up, ad in hand. It serves two purposes: getting customers in the door and being able to track the effectiveness of the ad.

If you spend $150 to $175 for the ad and the meal price is $25, you could easily sell 10 meals including the discount, and more than cover the cost of the ad.

Sometimes your goal is to let customers know who you are and where you are. The bonus is sales; the message is where to find you.

Advertising serves many purposes. While word-of-mouth has its place, advertising specific offerings provides updated information, provides actionable offers, and expands a business’ customer base.

As a business person, you likely know on day one of a new year what you expect to achieve in the next 12 months. Make planning for your advertising as important as planning for paying your employees, even if the employee is the person you look at in the mirror every morning. Advertising is as much of an investment as the fixtures in your store. Let it work for you and it will pay off.

These links lead to a series of ads that will inspire you to think more creatively about ad space purchases.

Word stream
Boredpanda
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WRITE STUFF NEWSLETTER

Small BMedia Kitusiness Tips & Tricks: Media Kits

Media kits are resources that tell others about you and your business. Whether you are a small single-owner shop or employ hundreds, you have a story to tell. Google, Facebook, Coca Cola and Ford don’t rely on word of mouth; they rely on getting their story out to the public by every means possible. Their media kits are neither simple nor economical. They know the value of story, their story.

As a small business owner you can affordably get the job done by working with a professional to compile a media kit designed to get your message out. Yes, your friends and neighbors know who you are, but do their friends and neighbors know who you are?

Media kits are custom designed, but there are standard items to include: recent high resolution photos of the owner and images of the store front and interior, high resolution images of logos, an introduction that tells your story, contact information and online presence, testimonials from satisfied customers, overview of product/service you provide, and your business mission or philosophy.

5 Reasons a Media Kit Makes Sense
Be prepared:
Whether you are celebrating your 10th year in business, or your millionth customer, you want to share your success. Most media outlets are willing to do a write up, or invite you to provide your own. Plan ahead for those special moments by compiling the bits and pieces of your story so it is easily and quickly accessible.

Be informed: Preparing a media kit requires market awareness. You may not believe you have competition because there is no other store like yours in your business district, but competition exists everywhere, including in most homes through the internet. What sets you apart? What makes your store the best place to go for what you provide? That’s the story you want to tell.

The elevator pitch: “Media kit” is an intimidating phrase. The elevator pitch is, “A media kit organizes outreach.” What is your elevator pitch? Compiling outreach information helps you fine tune your elevator pitch.

Aids in marketing: When someone walks in the door and wants to sell you an ad, are you ready? Is the idea of putting an ad together daunting? A media kit is a tool in your business tool box. You can readily answer the question of whether this ad placement is the right one for you and have the tools to help the ad rep create the ad.

Insight: A media kit inspires you to think in new ways about your business. The process of working with a professional (or doing it on your own) generates excitement and ideas.

Because of technology, this “kit” need not cost you a lot in printing and distribution. It can be uploaded to your website or e-mailed at any time to whomever is in need of the information.

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For help creating your Media Kit, or to set up a free consultation, contact WRITE STUFF, 505-617-0839 or e-mail fsharon@msn.com. Type Media Kit in the subject line. In the body of the e-mail include your contact information.

Image: Created at www.canva.com

 

 

WRITE STUFF: Give Yourself a Gold Star

7 Affirmations to Improve Your Business

If I was 12 inches taller I’d be skinny

How many times have you looked in the mirror and found a flaw? If you say never, good grief, what planet do you live on? Most of us are self-critical, sometimes to the point of being oblivious to what makes us unique. We seem to have a beast inside bent on bellyaching about our multiple deficiencies. Do you obsess about being too tall or not tall enough? Too thin or too heavy? Not pretty/handsome enough? Too pushy? Not pushy enough?

I'm a winner!You have your list and so do I. Do you apply that self-critical flaw-finding attitude to your business?

  • I can’t succeed.
  • The economy is against me!
  • I can’t afford to carry enough inventory.
  • Everybody shops out of town!
  • I’m afraid of the competition.
  • Advertising costs too much and it’s a waste of my limited resources.
  • Marketing eludes me. I can’t figure it out.

When you add your own night terrors to this list do you start to sweat? Are you on the brink of throwing in the towel, going to bed and covering up your head? STOP! Before you lie down with a cold compress – or knock back a numbing libation – get a grip! Perhaps you’re thinking is getting in the way of your business success.

But I’m only 60 inches tall, that’s not going to change

Challenges are real. There is something to be said for critical evaluation. SWOT (strength, weaknesses, opportunities and threats) analysis exists for a reason. The list above clearly represents the outcome of looking at weaknesses.

So how do you bring your future, the future of your business and the future of your community’s economy into perspective? Let the bellyaching beast of negativity off its leash and listen up. Evaluation does not mean you must find every flaw. Yes, you need to know what your weaknesses are, but also be certain you know and embrace your strengths. I may only be five foot tall and nowhere near thin, but anyone who knows me will tell you it has rarely held me back, even when standing still might have been wiser.

You are a star, and don’t you forget it

After hearing the bellyaching beast whining and begging for the scraps of uncertainty and fear left behind in the wake of your mental self-abuse, give him his freedom, open the door and let him go. When you see his tail wagging as he crests the horizon, take pen in hand and write down why your skills, services or business benefits others. It is freeing. It reminds you of your successes and puts the bad times in perspective.

As an entrepreneur you should take stock from time to time. Go somewhere quiet, where you will be able to think uninterrupted. Take a notebook and pen. There is something to be said for the tactile feel of the implements in your hand as you see your entrepreneurial spirit come to life through the words flowing onto the page.

Affirm your commitment to success:

I started this business/service (aside from money) because____________.

There is never any one reason entrepreneurs go into business. While earning a profit is likely at the top of the list there are other compelling reasons that fired and inspired you to put out your shingle. Name those reasons. Embrace them.

My business/service is unique in these ways_____________.

If you don’t have a response to this perhaps it’s time to think carefully about what you offer that no one else does, or think of an add-in that will make you stand out from the crowd.

Investing in my business through promotion has value because_________.

There is a rule of thumb that you should commit a percentage of your annual income to advertising and promotion. I would add, use that money wisely and well. No matter how much you want to support every publication and cause that “represents youth,” consider what you do in context of your business success. There are other ways to donate that don’t involve spending your much-needed promotional dollars.

My business has loyal customers. I’m going to reward them by______________.

When was the last time you e-mailed, called or in some way communicated with your customers? It’s less expensive to retain a satisfied customer and get them to buy again than it is to draw new customers to your door. And remember this – activity begets activity. If you have your old customers coming in the door, new customers will follow.

I will make sure my employees like their jobs and convey that to our customers.

If your employees aren’t on your side and don’t enjoy their jobs it will show in your bottom line. Take care of your employees (even if the only employee you have is you). If employees are not confident in their ability to take care of customers, if they feel inadequate, if they feel you don’t care about them, they will not do their best. They will do the minimum and not very well.

I will participate actively in associations that advocate for independent entrepreneurs.

Belonging to a business association is an opportunity for networking, yes, absolutely. Aside from that, you have something to offer. What can you contribute that will improve/promote all businesses? Rising water lifts all boats. Be part of the rising tide.

I will post a list of my business successes where I can see it every day, beginning with the day I opened, my first success.

Remember your successes. That first big sale. Meeting your first payroll (including paying yourself!). The “thank you” from a customer who benefited from your service. Keep track of the positive influence and impact your business has had and continues to have.

Moving forward

When business is stagnant or beginning to slide, remember this is a bump in the road, not a wall. Small business continues to be the backbone of the economy. Your success determines the health of the local economy and the national economy. Take time to celebrate your entrepreneurial strengths. It will be good for you, and it will be good for your business.

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Sharon Vander Meer is an entrepreneur, author, blogger and freelance writer. To tap into her skills to your benefit e-mail fsharon@msn.com. Type Write Stuff in the subject line.

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WRITE STUFF BUSINESS TIPS

February 9, 2017
10 Easy Survival Tips

Small business is a primary employer in America. Mom and Pops may be run by Mom and Pop, but most employ one or two employees – or more – depending on their needs. Small business is critical to the economy.

Small business supports local activities, pays taxes that help fund municipal services, and provides jobs. According to a 2012 Small Business Administration report small businesses account for 64 percent of net new private-sector jobs, 49.2 percent of private-sector employment, 42.9 percent of private-sector payroll, 46 percent of private-sector output and 43 percent of high-tech employment.

Interior Paper Trail - Las Vegas, NMSo, yes, small businesses are important.

What does it take to survive in the hostile environment of big box stores, online shopping, taxes and government regulation? Below are 10 tips for fighting the good fight, and winning.

  1. Be creative. Front windows and store layout are vital elements for getting customers in the door. Overall appearance sets the standard for how you are perceived.
  1. Be inviting. Swept sidewalks, clean windows and tended flower boxes (if you have them) tell a story without you ever saying a word.
  1. Stay current with business trends. It may be charming to have inventory that goes back decades but customers are more savvy than ever. Keep merchandise trendy, appealingly displayed and dust free.
  1. Be online. Whether it is a website, blog, Facebook or other media, be available to your customers online. Savvy small businesses find ways to build their clientele through e-mails and other electronic media. Strike up a conversation by posting content that will gain insight about your customers through feedback and gain their confidence in your ability to deliver.
  1. Be responsive. When a customer has a comment, complaint or suggestion, follow up. Make it a rung on the ladder of your further success.
  1. Pay attention to the bottom line. Renovate or extend your sales space or expand inventory only when you are financially prepared to do so.
  1. Promote your business. The rule of thumb for how much to spend on advertising and marketing for an established business is up to 10 percent of your annual budget. Startups should plan to spend 20 to 30 percent. These are recommendations. First you must have a clear idea of what you want to accomplish with your advertising and which methods will work for you. Just because someone says their circulation (or reach) is 50 thousand doesn’t mean 50,000 people will read or hear your message. The trick to successful advertising is to have a plan and a budget.
  1. Have a team spirit among employees. Multiple surveys have shown that workers are more engaged and productive when they feel their contributions are valued. Happy workers appreciate and rely on salary and benefits. What keeps them on the job is feeling like they are contributing to the success of the business.
  1. Trained staff. It goes beyond customer service. When new or inexperienced workers encounter unexpected problems, or are asked questions they can’t answer, the worst thing they can say is, “I don’t know.” What the customer hears is, “I don’t care enough about you to find out.” Training is work but worth the effort. And by the way, the best thing an employee can say when he or she doesn’t have an answer is, “Give me the details and I will get back to you as soon as I can.”
  1. Refer. If you don’t have what the customer is looking for, and know of another business that carries the product, refer them and provide directions. The customer will remember your community spirit of promoting others, and your sister store owner will appreciate you sending her business.

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I hope you found these tips helpful. WRITE STUFF BUSINESS TIPS will post twice monthly. Follow this blog so you don’t miss a single issue. Click on the Follow button at the top of the column on the right. If you have suggestions for future topics, please comment here or send to fsharon@msn.com. Type Write Stuff in the subject line.