Tag Archives: Advertising

New Year + New Ideas + Fresh Perspective = Blogtastic Results

This year I am starting a new blog post each week called BlogN2010. This will be a place where business owners can find tips, tricks and tasty tidbits that can help make your company blog fresh, profitable and a “must-read”. Stay turned for more blogtstic ideas!

Keeping fresh ideas pouring out of your blog posts is a challenge many blog writers face (myself included). Yes it’s a type of writers blog, but often times, it’s more than that. I constantly find myself asking:

What will people want to read?

What is timely and a topic on everyone’s mind?

Do people really care?

Bottom line, if you’re a small business and you need some fresh ideas for your up-coming blog post this year, here are a few things to consider before posting your masterpiece.

3 Business Blog Post Brainstorm Igniters:

1) Become Dear Abby-Offer Tips, Tricks and Tangibles

Let’s face it, you’re in business for a reason, you know something that people will pay for and need. So that means there are millions of things you can provide including tricks and tangible information that can help your readers. Providing educational tidbits is one of the easiest ways to bring what you know about your industry to light.

What’s more, not only can you provide valuable information, you can also provide advice. Take for instance the top three things your clients constantly ask your opinion about on a weekly basis. By taking those common questions, you can offer valuable advice that educates your customers and helps them better understand the importance of the services you provide.

2) Extra! Extra! Read All About It! – Bring fresh industry news to your readers.

Offering your readers insight on your industry’s new innovations, changes and newsworthy updates shows your readers that you’re on top of it. Trust me when I say your customers don’t have time to monitor your industry and their industry, so you must be the watchdog for them. Not only does it keep you in front of your clients, it also offers them a chance to discover additional products and services they may want to purchase from you. Plus, it’s easy to do. Find two or three industry blogs that you can follow and subscribe to their RSS feed. You can also go to Google Alerts, key in your industry and Google will email you news articles, industry topics and research on our designated profession.

3) Yes, pay attention to the person behind the curtain- let your clients walk in your shoes.

I used to work in television. I can’t tell you the many times people asked me to take them behind-the-scenes so they could see how we went about  putting a newscast together. For some reason, people love to see what it is other people do. Humans are curious and when you peel back the curtain to show what happens behind closed doors or even how your team works in the field, they seem to hold you in high regard. Now I am not saying that working at the TV station won me a ton of dates or anything, but what it did do was help people understand what I did on a daily basis and generated a ton of respect. Two things all business owners want! This is a great place to start your blog.

If you’re new to blogging and you’re looking for additional inspiration, check out The Writer’s Block by Jason Rekulak. It’s a handy little book that really jump-starts the brain. You can also keep a folder on your desktop and place interesting articles your run across in it. Keep your eyes open, blog topics are all around us!

Happy blogging-

Sarah @ Dog-Eared Pages

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Filed under Advertising, Business Development, Small Business Solutions, Writing

Give Me A C. How About 4?

Enjoy A Poolside Read!

This week has been nuts. Partly because only 4 work days existed and partly, cause I am just busy. So this week, the blog looks a bit sad. With that I owe you, my faithful readers, an interesting article. This week I discovered an article about How Sustainability Marketing can help in a recession. Learn about the  4 C’s of sustainable communication!

Take a read, hopefully while you’re sitting poolside!

Happy Smart Marketing-

Sarah @ Dog-Eared Pages

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Filed under Advertising, copywriting, Marketing, marketing in a down economy, Small Business Solutions, Writing

Is Your Content a Point of Contention?

photo11Last week I went to lunch with an old writing buddy. He and I had worked together at one of the areas largest ad agencies and for some reason, not sure if it’s just a writer thing or the fact that he occasionally brought fantastic baked breads to work, we became friends. As we sipped on our hot tea we talked about clients past and present and how no matter when or where you are writing, creating captivating copy is something we both strive for on a daily basis. Yes, we’re both as one of my friends says, “Word Nerds”. 

It was after chatting with my friend for awhile that I realized, maybe that’s why I love words so much-they can do so many things. 

Persuade, evoke emotions, inform, grab your attention, make you feel happy, help you forget your troubles …. and so on and so forth. But what I am noticing as I continue working with new clients is how each one, regardless of their high marks in English, struggle with content. So I offer up these content tips to help you think more like a writer and have an easier time working with the next writer you hire.

4 Content Tips To Trip Your Customer’s Trigger:

1) Grab their attention, talk directly: In a world where so many ideas and thoughts are communicated, you must find the right words that resonate with your target market. Be direct. People only have a small attention span so speak to exactly what they need to hear, without paragraphs of content. For instance, if you sell expensive watches, saying something like: ” “If you’re looking for a cheap watch, Handover Watches don’t belong on your wrist.”

2) Leave the flowery speak to gardeners: Consumers want to know who, why, where, when and how. So, don’t place cutesy words around the facts. Imaginative word play does have it’s impact, that’s not what we’re talking about here. Tell them how they can get the product, where they use it, etc. Don’t waste your customer’s time by making them read multiple paragraphs to get to the “meat” of your product, because they won’t waste their time and will seek your competition.

3) Don’t speak about yourself, talk to your customer’s needs: It’s easy to boast about your new showroom or tell customer’s all about your sleek customer service plan, but if you don’t talk to their needs, they will go elsewhere. Craft your words to speak to the needs your product/service fills. You can ask a question like: Sleepless nights? Why not try a sleep aid that will have you counting sheep before you count 1, 2, zzzzzzzz.

4) Use the words “you” and “your”: Give your copy punch. Think of it as if you’re having a direct conversation with your customer. You wouldn’t talk to a potential customer in your showroom as if they weren’t even standing there, so don’t try it in your marketing pieces. Speak directly to them. First, it’s conversational, making them feel at ease and second, it’s a way to show you actually care about their individual needs. Use the words “you” and “your” to communicate what it is “you” can do for them.

Happy writing-

Sarah @ Dog-Eared Pages

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The Importance of a Sticky Message

 

What Are Your Messages Saying?

What Are Your Messages Saying?

So you have an ad budget, but you’re not sure where, how or when you should release the dollars, much less what the ROI will be once the greenbacks leave your hands. Yes, it’s tough to part with hard earned cash to promote your biz, but my guess is you’ve probably had a bad “advertising” experience before and now and you’re a bit shy of where your next marketing adventure could take you. My guess is, the number one problem your past marketing failed to do was be “sticky”.

 

Why Should Your Marketing Message Should Cling Like Saran Wrap

When it comes to crafting your marketing message, it pays to have someone who massages words for a living help. Bottom line, if you’re marketing ace isn’t talking to you about creating a message that capitalizes on your customers emotions, while evoking that light bulb moment, then their words and your cash are falling on deaf ears. Translation, your message won’t stick to your clients and your clients won’t stick with you.

Crafting a message that resonates with your customers is key. Make your message stick with these tips:

  • Make emotions flow-If you aren’t considering what it is your customers need and why they seek your product/service, start now! These are called pain points. When a person seeks a product or service, the have a need. Doctors are called upon because people feel lousy. Plumbers show up to the scene because there’s a flood in the basement. So, what thing is it your product/service fixes? 
  • Testimonials, Testimonials, Testimonials– Did you hear me? If you aren’t collecting testimonials from your current client base, you must. Get a LinkedIn account, send out a request for a recommendation to your “connected” clients and instantly you have a testimonial that you can use for countless marketing pieces. Nothing sells your biz better than word of mouth, especially the mouth of a happy client.
  • Unforgettable, that’s what you are – If you want clients to remember you, create something about your business that’s memorable. I don’t care if you are an accountant that shows up to your client’s office on a motorcycle (actually does exist), or you offer your clients a trip to Hawaii for referring a friend, or even better yet your product or service is so remarkable that people can’t get enough. Whatever it is, do it with excellence and create an exciting experience for the client’s you serve. How cool would it be for a client to receive a gift basked of fine chocolates just as a thank you. I am pretty sure they will remember you. And, you don’t have to break the bank, just doing something thoughtful is enough. So get to thinking about that one thing that can set you apart.

Bottom line, when the message is crafted, make sure you are speaking to the right person in the right way. Create a moment for them that they say, ahh ha, this is what I need and I am picking up the phone/walking in the store now because I can’t be without (fill in your product/service here).

Wishing you the best in message crafting-

Sarah @ Dog-Eared Pages

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Sometimes You Don’t Need Words

Quick post as I know Fridays are always a time where you need a little down time to recharge before the weekend. So here’s a gift to you. Check out Audi’s new TV Spot called Flipbook. I know, as a writer I probably should be promoting something with words. However, this spot is just pure magic and a great way to help you stop and really look at what is happening within the spot; without words to distract (gasp!)
Check it out for yourself.

For me, watching the latest TV spots is just something I have done for years. It’s a way to let my creative side explore, renew and in this case, sit back and enjoy. What other ways do you spur your own creativity? I’d love to hear from you.
Happy TV commercial exploration!
Sarah @ Dog-Eared Pages

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The Results Are Here

As promised, the results for your favorite Super Bowl commercial are in and what’s more, many of you had some pretty good thoughts about why you chose or didn’t choose. 

The winning commercial was :

Now some of you mentioned that you didn’t like this spot as it seemed like many of the ads this year centered around people getting hurt. And while others thought that was funny, many commented that it seemed as if Doritos sold out to just making their ads slapstick for kicks. While “funny” sells, bottom line does it pass the marketing test? Would you remember what product was being sold? I am sure you do as there has been a ton of buzz about this particular commercial. But, if there wasn’t any buzz, would you remember?

Other people commented that they would love to have a crystal ball they could throw around at their co-workers. Glad I don’t work with some of you. (chuckle) Much like anything in advertising it is a subjective thing and everyone has their own perspective. That’s why marketing is fun and can be a constant challenge for those of us trying to appeal to the masses. 

Thanks to all of you that participated in the Super Bored poll. Keep reading for more.

Happy ad watching-

Sarah @ Dog-Eared Pages

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Irritating Name, Astounding Success

By now most of us have heard a story or two about a little blanket (Linus would be so proud) that could. It’s the Snuggie and I have to tell you as a person that’s hyper-sensitive to words, this one about makes me want to rip my ears off. However, as I calm down, and just call it the “special blanket” to keep from igniting my sensitivity, I realize there’s a great marketing success story here. 

In case you have no idea what I am talking about, check out this commercial for the “special blanket”.

This commercial was just launched in October of 2008, and with the downturn in economy, most people would say it would be a total flop. However, with big ad campaigns that normally run being cut due to clients pulling back ad dollars, this product capitalized on a real opportunity. With competition down, many consumers looking to things that would enhance staying at home and an ad that uses direct response to hit you over the head to buy this “special blanket”, over 4 million blankets have sold; that’s just over $40 million in revenue. Yes it is true, even in the world of Web 2.0, direct response still works.

What should advertisers, small business owners and marketing gurus learn from this? Two things ….

1) Never under estimate the power of YouTube.  The “special blanket” has had over 200 parodies created on YouTube, which means there’s a buzz going on and that means people’s interest in the product is soaring-a marketing delight. What’s more YouTube videos make it easy to find ads you have seen on TV. YouTube instantly becomes a video vault, reference point and in cause you  missed that 1-800 #, a remarkable selling tool. And … it’s free!

2) Face It-Facebook works. And while  you are connecting with some of your old high school buddies, now you can also be part of the viral media buzz by joining the Facebook Snuggie Fan Club. What more could a company want? A fan club for it’s product. It’s true and get this, this club already has 4,000 members and going strong. How’s that for a little WOM (word of mouth)?

And if all this isn’t getting you marketing mind all warm and fuzzy, maybe you should check out the “special blanket” website for yourself and order one.

Stay warm and connected to the viral world-

Sarah @ Dog-Eared Pages


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Filed under Advertising, copywriting, Marketing, marketing in a down economy

Lists, Top 10s and a Pocket Full of the Best Of

moo-websiteSo it’s that time of year. Yes the lists are rolling out and the top 10s are all the talk. And, as the Waterfold Crystal ball begins to drop in Times Square this year, we will all witness a sea of lists. 

Now I’m not poking fun at list makers, I am one myself. My lists have lists. So since everyone else seems to be making their lists, I didn’t want to disappoint my readers and not have one myself. Maestro  … drum roll please … Sarah’s Top 5 favorite website experiences … yes even a writer needs some down time!

1) Have you Hulued?

If you haven’t traveled to http://www.Hulu.com, you have been missing the boat. No it’s not a Hawaiian vacation planning site, it a site jam-packed with full-length TV episodes, movies, movie trailors and anything you can think of that might be entertaining to watch while the boss is still out on vacation.

2) Moooooooo Mania 

“Moo”ve over traditional business cards, this site is a great place to create and print unique business cards that will stand out in the crowd. Select from pre-designed templates, or create your own card with photography or graphic creations of your own. It’s a fantastic way to create one-of-a-kind cards that turn heads. Check out http://www.moo.com .

3) Are you feeling Wiki?

Check out http://www.wikitravel.com! I love to travel and this is the place to go to locate the most up-to-date travel guides around. And if you’re like me and a trip is not in the future (whimper) then you’ve got a great place to dream!

4) Got a Question? Search me!

I love http://www.searchme.com. If you have a question, they have an answer. Just type it in and wal’ la … a solution is at your finger tips. The best part about this website is that it presents all the searches in one, easy to use search format that is very similar to the iTunes Album flip through feature.

5) Just a cool website ….

Now I have to say http://www.tracychapman.com might be one of the coolest web designs I have seen this year. Music, visual intrigue and an unique presentation give this site a lot of sparkle. Even if you aren’t a fan of her music, Ms. Chapman’s website is a fun interactive experience.

Take a look for yourself. It’s a great way to see what the market is doing in the internet design/experience realm. What’s more, it helps pass the time while your boss is away. Enjoy!

Happy Web surfing!

Sarah @dogearedpages

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Music Makes the Difference

I was reading an interesting article this morning that caught my eye and I thought it was worth sharing with you. In today’s edition of Ad Age, writer Charlie Moran details the most memorable and questionable soundtrack choices for television commercials of 2008. One is for Mac another for Target and of course there are many others.

Yet the thing that caught my eye, and ears for that matter,  is the fact that I instantly recognized the music-hats off to the creatives on each team. Besides the fact that I am a commercial junkie, I thought this was an interesting compilation of music and wanted share it with you.

Think of it as a different selection from your normal Manic Monday playlist. 

Have a great week-

Sarah @ Dog-Eared Pages

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Have You Downloaded A Widget Today?

1photo

You probably already know what a widget is, but just so everyone is on the same page of music, It’s a mini software application that is downloadable to browsers, desktops and social-networking pages.

The latest buzz about the Internet world is that widgets are working and helping companies get noticed without having a flashy TV campaign that cost millions of dollars, although some are still doing that too (that’s a whole different blog). It’s upping companies advertising impressions in a whole new way.

Just ask Southwest Airlines. Their Southwest Ding widget allows customers to choose various travel destinations that appeal to them and when a low rate for that destination is available, the infamous “Southwest Ding” sounds off and the low rate appears upon the customer’s screen.

This is just one example of how the internet and widgets are changing the way we do business and benefit, as consumers, from various companies and the value the offer.

So how do you make widgets wow your customers? Here are 3 ways to have widgets work wonders with your biz.

1) Suggest widgets to your clients that will help them streamline processes within their business. See IBM’s-Build Your Own Case widget.

2) Find widgets that can help your business and post them on your web page. It shows you are up to date on technology and gives visitors to your website helpful tools to help manage their day-to-day business needs. See NetVibes. (They help businesses, ad agencies and entrepreneurs create widgets that help build business and provide client’s with solutions.)

3) Make a lasting impression and keep your customer base coming back for more. See Nike. They are constantly looking for ways to captivate, motivate and educate their audience. It’s why their customers are so loyal and continue to wait for the next big “Nike Thing”.

Take a look around the web. See what’s new. Discover how widgets are can make a difference in the way you do business.

The following are a few links to get you started:

Widget Box

NetVibes Ecosystem

Happy Widgeting-

Sarah @ Dog-Eared Pages

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