Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Writing Effective Headlines For Advertising Small Businesses

To stand out in a crowded marketplace full of information overload, creating powerful headlines is a must. Your headlines not only have to be intriguing enough to get noticed, but they need to incite people to take the desired action. It's no wonder countless businesses are seeking the services of experienced copywriters. If small businesses learn to write better, they will convert more sales, it's as simple as that. Sales copy is crucial to close more sales. Learning how to write effective headlines that attract attention and convert is part art, part science. There's a skill to draw the interest of your prospective market. You also have to tweak and experiment till you can find that perfect balance that converts the best.

Small business owners have to be vigilant, they can't just write headlines and step away, it's vital to monitor the results. They need to figure out which type of headlines garner the best interest and take steps to build on it. Some small business owners may put a great deal of emphasis on a marketing project, then only consider the headline an afterthought. Since the owners put so much effort in the marketing campaign, they mistakenly think that would be enough. In some cases when they go to launch, it ends up dead in the water because they failed to capture attention with the headline. In contrast, another owner can launch an inferior marketing solution, but put considerable resources into using effective copy for the headline and enjoy some success. This owner understands it's not necessarily the quality of the solution, it's the headline. There are many great products and solutions out there in the marketplace garnering no attention whatsoever because of ineffective sales copy.

Writing effective headlines for advertising small businesses considerably increase the chances of success. It takes more than just the arrangement of words, it's about understanding the needs of your target market. You need the right words that evoke emotion. Stirring up emotions leads them to take the desired action to purchase your solutions or products. Let's face it, if just words on a headline was enough, everybody would be having success. There's tremendous skill involved in writing persuasive copy that converts.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Small Business and Marketing: How People Make Their Buying Decision

In the past businesses could find huge success marketing their product with a method known as the "hard sale." With this form of marketing a business would use tactics that would pressure consumers into purchasing their product or utilizing their service. However, with the recent down turn of the economy, this approach had to transform into something more thoughtful to appeal to consumers. This is because most customers began to carefully watch and monitor where their money was going and how it was being spent. Therefore, businesses now must offer specific reasons why their product or service will benefit or enhance the lives of their customer in order to have successful sales.

As a result of this new sales approach many businesses are having to reevaluate their marketing strategy. Consumers are no longer making as many impulse purchases and now must have a legitimate reason to spend their hard-earned dollars on a specific product or service. Some important tips for businesses to utilize in order to secure consumers purchase what they have to offer include:

- The customer needs to know the direct benefit they will receive from a businesses product or service. This includes how it will enhance their life and why they should purchase one brand over the other.

- Do not use traditional advertising hype and schemes such as: forced urgency where a consumer can only get your product for a limited amount of time, false promises and outrageous claims and overzealous hype that is no longer effective, such as "Get miracle slimming results overnight and drop 30 pounds."

- Do not oversell the product. Ensure the customer knows the benefits of what is offered, but do not saturate media, emails and social networks with too much information.

- Utilize channels such as social media networks to utilize the new form of word of mouth advertising.

It is still a fact that one of the main influencing factors that affect what a consumer purchases is through emotion. If a product induces "good" feelings they are more likely to spend their money on that product. Also, if the company or manufacturer has a good or popular reputation their products may also be purchased more frequently. Keeping marketing and promotion campaigns honest, free of hype and about the customer are sure ways to effect a consumers purchasing habits.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Biggest, Best or Only Advertising Claims

Is yours the only product of its type in the market? If not, is it the best, biggest, or most powerful? If so, go ahead and tell the world, but be certain not to sit on your laurels, at least according to the National Advertising Division, an investigative unit of the advertising industry's system of self-regulation. The NAD has consistently held that broad, unqualified superiority claims such as "largest," "best" and "highest" must be supported by reliable data against all or a significant portion of the market.

Assuming your claim is properly substantiated, a recent NAD case illuminates the importance of monitoring and reexamining your claim as the marketplace evolves. The case revolved around T-Mobile's "America's Largest 4G Network" claim, which the company was able to make for years, until the size of competing networks grew*.

When making an unqualified superiority claim, an advertiser is telling the world that its product is the best, biggest, or fastest compared to essentially all products in the class. Of course, depending on the size of the market, there may be a competitor whose product is better, bigger, or faster, so before making the claim, be certain to test your product against the overwhelming majority (i.e., 90%) of the competition.

Even when you get past this high hurdle, the claim needs to be substantiated on an ongoing basis. In an ever-evolving, competitive marketplace, someone is always looking to trump the competition. This means that you'll need to constantly keep your eye out for new or improved products in the same class as your own. Whenever they appear (and they no doubt will), their performance will need to be tested against your own, and if your product falls short, your claim is no longer valid. To avoid this and the potential repercussions, it's best to constantly work on improving the size, power, or performance of your own product to maintain your edge. If you're unable to do so, be prepared to change your advertising (and possibly your packaging) with very little advance notice.

Friday, October 26, 2012

This Is the Easiest Way to Start Branding Your Business

The most important items to consider when branding your business is the consistency of your stationery. If you use a logo, it must be presented on every item you use. The paper stock, printing style and ink color must be consistent for all stationery (letterhead, envelope, business card). The only correct change would be the paper stock (paper color, paper weight, style of paper either bond paper, rag paper, laid or linen papers). The most used envelope in business is the 24 lb. white bond no.10 printed regular or window envelope.

Personalized business envelopes should be flat printed (offset) in one or 2 colors, not 4 colors unless your logo is 4 colors. The reason is simple. In this economy, the return on investment is not worth the cost. 4 color printing is expensive even with the reduced costs of digital printing. A smartly designed logo in 2 colors will do the same branding as 4 color without the expense. Spend your money on the logo. It's a one time charge.

White is the most common color for stationery and black ink is the color for type. There are thousands of typefaces to choose from but don't expect every printer to have these typefaces. Stick to the standard ones as Times Roman, Helvetica etc. making your ability to switch printers easier.

Professional people such as doctors, lawyers usually use Helvetica typeface with black ink flat or raised printing.

White bond 20 lb. paper is the business standard. 24 lb is a little heavier and gives a more distinguished look and feel. 25% rag papers is the next step up. Next would be laid or linen papers in any available color. All your business stationery must be on the same paper color and brand. Cranes papers are the most expensive and distinguished. US paper money is printed on exclusive rag fiber Cranes paper.

Your advertising should be on the same paper but with your logo as the first item your prospect will see. If you are using paper it should be the same style as your letterhead.