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Optimize Your Social Media Marketing Strategy

Is Social Media Marketing Working for You ?

social media marketing

 

For small business owners, the need to reach out and communicate with consumers is not only a necessity to building a strong brand, but also plays a vital role in building trust. Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past few years, then you are aware of the power of social media outlets and their ability to communicate directly with consumers. Tools such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn are among the top performing platforms for social media. You can tap into these resources to network and grow your business to potential buyers. With over 500 million people on Facebook alone, taking the 20 minutes to create an ad and budget is well worth it. However, with everything in the business world, effectively using social media marketing is “easier said than done.” To make sure you’re taking the right steps with your social media campaigns, here are some helpful tips.

A.I.D.A. Think back to Marketing 101 and the basic principles of sales and marketing funnels. The acronym A.I.D.A. stands for Awareness, Interest, Desire, and Action. A successful social media campaign will build on these ideas and have proven to be quite relevant to today’s social media marketing. Remember that social media is not a point of sale tool, but rather an avenue to reach potential consumers and establish brand awareness. With that being said, let’s take a closer look at the idea behind A.I.D.A. The following information is quoted from Josh Peters, an internet and social media consultant with Mashable.com.

AWARENESS

Awareness is social media’s bread and butter. Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, YouTube and other networks are built for this. You can’t easily display your inventory via Twitter, set up a shopping cart on LinkedIn, or fill orders through YouTube. These networks are not going to be your point of sale. Instead, they are your communication and outreach tools — the spokes that lead back to your hub (sales page, blog, site, etc.) where you will be making your conversions.

Awareness can take many forms, but its main goal is getting people to know you exist and that you can solve a problem they might have. At this level, conversations, interaction and content are king. A few metrics you might want to measure around your brand are conversation frequency, increased mentions and sentiment.

INTEREST

Now that you have their attention, you need to get customers interested in your product. You can bolster interest with offers and compelling reasons why you’re better than the competition, and how you can solve customers’ problems. Features and benefits weigh heavily in this level, and social media can help you kick their interest into high gear.

If you’re running a pay-per-click (PPC) campaign and have some targeted landing pages set up for your products or services, those are what you want to link to — not your homepage. Even if you’re not utilizing paid ads, the same strategy of linking to targeted pages through social media is applicable. A few of the metrics you will want to look at here are CTR (click through rate), retweets (of deals and links), and conversations about specific products.

DESIRE

Social media can help bolster desire through communication and engagement, but to fully satisfy someone’s desire to buy, you need to have a site that is streamlined and optimized. Recently, I tried using a popular car rental site to make a reservation, but it was so difficult to navigate that I gave up, despite having a great discount code. The unmanageable user interface killed my desire in two minutes flat, and my business went straight to the competition. Your site makes a huge impression, and people will judge your company by it.

Take the time to go through your site and optimize the presentation and the shopping cart experience. Testimonials gathered from linkable social profiles are a great asset.

Take the customer from interest to desire with a clean, easy to navigate, info rich, and functional site. Some of the metrics that matter at this level are bounce rate, time on site, pages viewed and incoming links.

ACTION

Now that your customers are itching to buy your product, and their money is burning a hole in their PayPal pocket, you need to seal the deal. At this point, your site is your number one tool, and while social media can influence the action through the previous levels, it’s not going to have the same influence here. You need to make it easy and obvious for your customer to complete your desired action (purchase, sign up, lead form, etc.).

The action is also where you can finally calculate some of your end metrics, like conversion rate and ROI. This is where you can see how everything is performing and the final impact your work is having. Often, these are the metrics that your boss (and your boss’s boss) are looking for.

With so many forms of advertising and marketing being used in business, it’s easy to find yourself overwhelmed and confused when figuring out where to start. Using the simple principles of awareness, interest, desire, and action you can effectively establish yourself among the social media buzz and start building brand awareness for your products or services. If social media is something you’ve been shying away from, pull back the covers and dive into a world of 500 million strong. Social media marketing is no longer an option, it’s a necessity. What do you think ?

Happy Writing – A.M. Professional Writing Services

 

 

Online Advertising Breaks a Record

Online Advertising Breaks the BILLION Dollar Record…In 6 Months

Online Advertising money

No, that’s not a typo in the title! Online advertising has officially breached the billion dollar boundary with no signs of slowing down any time soon. The IAB Internet Revenue Advertising Report for 2010 shows that in the United States, businesses and individuals spent around $12.1 billion dollars in online advertising during the first 6 months of 2010. These numbers are a true testament that print advertising is on its way out and it doesn’t look like too many people are concerned. Recent reports from established print media empires (such TIME Magazine, Wall Street Journal, etc.) explain a shift from print media to online media within the next few years. Soon, your favorite magazines, journals and periodicals will no longer be available at your local bookstore. Instead, you will find a new, online empire prepared to embrace the introduction of such change. And you can bet on the fact that with everything being available online, more and more businesses will be knocking down the doors with online advertising dollars in hand. But why is there so much money being spent on online advertising, and where does it all go ?

 

Search advertising continued to monopolize the greater share of online ad dollars, having attracted more than $5.7 billion in spending between January and June this year — a year-over-year increase of 11.6%. Display advertising, which includes banner ads, digital video, rich media and sponsorships, garnered more than $4.4 billion in the first half of 2010, a 16% increase over the same period in 2009. Digital video recorded the greatest growth of all. More was spent in video advertising from January to June than in any other half-year period before, an increase of 31% from the first half of 2009. – Mashable.com

 

With the evolution of easy to use, online advertising and marketing tools such as Google’s Adwords and Facebook’s ad campaigns, anyone from the normal everyday internet user to multimillion dollar businesses can launch their own advertising campaigns. With fully customizable options, segmentation and other vital target market information available to users, the ability to reach millions of people with targeted ads is open to anyone. With enticing options like the ability to set your own budget, online advertising gives you complete control over every aspect of your campaigns.

 

Businesses and individuals spent approximately $12.1 billion on online advertising in the first six months of 2010, up 11.3% from the from the first half of 2009 and 13.9% from the second quarter of 2009. In fact, this was both the highest first-half and second-quarter revenue ever recorded. – Mashable.com

 

Online Advertising ChartAs 2010 approaches the final stretch of the year we can only imagine where new technologies and developments will take us. But one thing is for sure…online advertising is on the rise and it can only get bigger from here. Are you advertising your business online ?

Let us know what you think about the multi-billion dollar industry of online advertising by leaving your thoughts and comments below. Thanks!

A.M. Professional Writing Services

 

 

 

Advertising and Sales Sheets – 2 Birds With 1 Stone

The Hidden Power of Sales Sheets

Sales Sign
Sales sign hanging

Imagine yourself at a meeting with a potential client. You’re sitting down in a local coffee shop, conversing over latte’s and muffins, and things are seemingly going well. And then the question pops up: “So, what exactly is it that your product (or service) does ? Do you have more information I can look at ?” What do you do ? You can fumble around in your brief case for a business card with your web address and pawn off the response on your website, but the chances of a prospect going home to search the web for more information about your product AFTER meeting with you, isn’t very likely. You could go into a lengthy explanation that might bore your prospect to the point that they lose interest completely. You could drive back to your office as fast as possible to send a hasty email to the prospect who, by then, probably won’t open it. Or you could utilize one of the oldest forms of selling and hand your prospect a sales sheet that answers all of their questions and satisfies their need for more information.

What is a sales sheet ?

Sales Sheet Example 1Maybe you’ve never heard of those two words before or you may think it’s something completely different from what it really is. No, it’s not a sheet full of numbers and stats about sales. A sales sheet is exactly what it sounds like – a sheet that sells. According to commercedictionary.com, a sales sheet is “paper which gives details of a product and explains why it is good.” It’s really that simple. A sales sheet is a one or two page paper that offers insight into what your product or service is and why a customer should buy from you. It’s a presentation piece, a sales tool, a networking tool and, more importantly and often overlooked, a marketing tool! The beauty of having a sales sheet is that it acts as an informative piece of literature for prospects, but also serves as an advertising medium by displaying product and company information, in-turn increasing brand awareness.

But how can it increase brand awareness ?

Let’s say that you sell vacuum cleaners. You meet with a prospect and pitch your latest model, the T120 Super Sucker, and after you’ve done your presentation that client asks you, “Do you have any more information about your products and services that I can have ?” You, being the prepared sales rep that you are (right ?), hand over a sales sheet that tells your prospect all the features and benefits of the T120 Super Sucker, as well as, brief information about your other products and also mentions your cleaning services and monthly vacuum maintenance plans. What you’ve just done is given your prospect the information they requested and explained your business and services to them that they may have not otherwise asked about. Now, you’ve opened another possible sales avenue and helped establish your brand (in the prospects mind) as a full service vacuum company that also offers cleaning and maintenance services. The prospect might take that sales sheet home, read through it and discover a different vacuum that might be suitable for his neighbor, whose been looking for a new vacuum that can handle shag carpets and rugs better than his current vacuum. Now, you’ve just made another possible sale and, through your prospect, have spread your brand awareness. It’s beautiful isn’t it ? Yeah, we think so too.

So, how do you create an effective sales sheet ?

To create a sales sheet, the process is quite simple. If you have a decent word processing program with the ability to add graphics you can create sales sheet’s yourself, for little or no cost. Here’s some tips on creating a sales sheet that will give your product and business the added exposure it needs:

1. Start with your text.

Keep in mind this rule: “People don’t read.” So keep your copy short, snappy and to the point. Start with a one-paragraph description of your product or service. Provide the basics: what it is, what it does and why your customer should buy it.

Focus on your product’s benefits, not just its features. In other words, think of your product/service from your readers’ point of view. You may be thrilled that you just bought a brand new high-end photocopier for your print shop, but what does that mean for me, your customer? Better quality? Cheaper copies? Faster service?

Use bullet points to list key features and benefits. Use powerful, descriptive — but true — adjectives.

Sales sheet example 32. Add our product photos and graphics.

Next, you need a photo of your product. Or a graphic. Or anything visual. In this case, a picture really is worth a thousand words. If your product or service isn’t particularly photogenic, use a chart or graph Sales sheet example 2that illustrates benefits or cost savings.

If it’s appropriate, include the price of your product. In some cases, your prices may vary by customer or season, so you’ll want to keep a separate price list.

3. Insert your calls to action.

Finally, you’ll want a call to action. Tell people where and how they can order your product or get further information. Now, it’s time to take all this copy and put it on the page. Because my company is a publisher, we use heavyweight design software. For print publishing, Adobe software is king-of-the-hill. For our sales sheet, we used the latest version of their flagship layout program, InDesign. Adobe’s PageMaker and Microsoft‘s Publisher are both good, affordable, alternatives.

For some useful tips from graphic designers on creating sales sheets check out this article from hubpages.com.

Other uses for your sales sheet ?

Sales sheets can also serve as other forms of advertising and marketing as well. For example, leave them behind at sales meetings for other people to pick up and explore. Use them when you send mailers and email responses to clients. Insert them in pocket folder portfolio’s for distribution to companies when making presentations. Use them at trade shows to let prospects get a taste of your products and why they should buy from you. Sales sheets are a wonderful tool that can be used in a variety of ways. So, next time you get asked, “What is it that your product does ?” hand them a sales sheet and let the power of advertising do the work for you. We promise it’s worth it!

If you would like more information about sales sheets or are interested in having a sales sheet created for you, contact us or visit our website at www.amprowritingservices.com.

Please let us know why you think about this powerful tool by posting your comments below. Your comments are always welcomed! Thanks! Also, be sure to find us on Facebook and follow on Twitter.

Happy Writing! A.M. Professional Writing Services

Clean Your Balls! AXE is at it again…

Does AXE Need to Clean Up its Own Act ?

Axe Clean Your Balls Advertisement

AXE has spent the last few years making quite a name for itself in the art of smelling good and, more importantly, attracting women. In fact, it seems that the entire AXE campaign has been built on a simple principle: if your hair isn’t greasy and you’re body smells like an AXE factory, women will flock to you. AXE even goes as far as to put warning labels on its products warning of the dangers of extreme attention and demand from females.

As if AXE hadn’t already pushed the limits of what is acceptable advertising, their latest ad campaign works off the slogan, “Clean Your Balls.” I think we all know what they mean, however, the controversial commercial is causing some people to question the maturity and leadership of the AXE brand. What do you think ?

As we see it, AXE has created the ultimate campaign for itself. Basic advertising principles tell us that a few seconds is all that stands between capturing your audience or totally turning them off. Needless to say, AXE has seemingly hit the nail on the head with their latest commercial. After all, hearing Jamie Presley announce that she has found an effective way to clean your balls so they are more enjoyable to play with, just seems to have a way of making you pay attention. Job well done AXE, job well done indeed.

We want to know what you think! Do you think AXE has created a new name for itself, or are their controversial ways going to end up hurting them ? Please leave your comments below as they are always welcomed!

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Subliminal Advertising – A Video Worth Watching

Turning the Tables on the Advertising Industry


When looking around for today’s blogging topic, we stumbled across a really interesting video that demonstrates the power of subliminal advertising. Before you watch the video, lets take a minute to delve a little deeper into the world of subliminal messages. You may be surprised to learn that this form of advertising is more prominent than you think.

Martin Lindstrom sums up the process and power of subliminal advertising best in this brief article from parade.com.

Subliminal advertising–hidden messages embedded in ads–is considered a deceptive business practice by the Federal Trade Commission. Yet a legal kind of “subliminal” persuasion happens every day. Shoppers are regularly encouraged to buy by appeals to their senses or unconscious assumptions. I recently carried out a series of research experiments to uncover the ways advertisers burrow beneath our rational minds to get us to pull out our wallets. Here are five techniques used to mess with our minds that you should know about.

Some Products Just Feel Right

I once conducted a test by giving consumers both a lightweight and a heavy TV remote control. The across-the-board response to the lighter-weight model? “It’s broken.” Even when they found out the lightweight remote was totally functional, shoppers still felt its quality was inferior.

Some TV remotes and MP3 players on the market today would weigh half of what they do if they weren’t stuffed with completely useless wads of aluminum. Customers believe the heavier objects they’re holding are more sturdy and substantial. As a result, they’re willing to pay a higher price for them.

We Fall for “Tradition”

Some people believe that squeezing a lime into a Corona beer is a time-honored Mexican custom that came about to enhance the beer’s taste. Others maintain that the ritual derives from an ancient Meso-American practice designed to combat germs, with the lime’s acidity destroying bacteria. The truth? The Corona-and-lime ritual dates back only to 1981, when, reportedly on a bet with his buddy, a bartender popped a lime wedge into the neck of a Corona to see if he could start a trend.

This simple act, which caught on like wildfire, is generally credited with helping Corona overtake Heineken as the best-selling imported beer in the U.S. market.

The more stressed-out we are by the financial crisis and other problems, the more we unconsciously adhere to familiar, comforting rituals. Marketers know this full well and exploit it.

Music Makes Us Buy

Store owners know that playing music with a tempo faster than the human heartbeat causes shoppers to shop quickly–and therefore buy less. The slower the beat, the more time shoppers will take, and the greater the chances are that they’ll buy something.

Music also can direct us to certain products. For example, it can determine what kind of wine we pick up from the shelves. In one experiment over a two-week period, British researchers played either accordion-heavy French music or a German brass band over the speakers of the wine section inside a large supermarket. On French music days, 77% of consumers bought French wine, whereas on German music days, the vast majority of consumers picked up a German selection. Intriguingly, only one out of the 44 customers who agreed to answer a few questions at the checkout counter mentioned the music as among the reasons they bought the wine they did.

Places Give Cachet

A product’s country of origin can subliminally influence what we buy. Let’s say I offered you a choice of two new cars (my treat). They’re the same model, the same make, the same color, and both are decked out with the same accessories. There’s only one difference: One is made in Turkey, and the other is manufactured in Switzerland. My guess is that you’d pick the Swiss model, since you associate Switzerland with superb craftsmanship and high standards.

A few years ago, I was helping a struggling perfume maker regain its footing in the market. When I glanced at the perfume bottle to see where the fragrance was manufactured, I noticed that instead of the glamorous cities typically associated with perfume (Paris! Rome!), the company listed middle-American cities on its labels. Now, Milwaukee and Dallas may be great places to live, but they’re not dream destinations for most consumers. Since the perfume company had offices in Paris, London, New York, and Rome, I persuaded its marketers to place those names prominently on the perfume bottle. Once the switch was made, sales shot up almost instantly. Milwaukee and Dallas, I still love you.

Shapes Have a Draw

A large food manufacturer once tested two different containers for a diet mayonnaise aimed at female shoppers. Both containers held the exact same mayo, and both bore the exact same label. The only difference? The shapes of the bottles. The first was narrow around the middle and thicker at the top and on the bottom. The second had a slender neck that tapered down into a fat bottom, like a genie bottle.

When asked which product they preferred, every single subject–all diet-conscious women–selected the first bottle without even having tasted the stuff. Why? The researchers concluded that the subjects were associating the shape of the bottle with an image of their own bodies. And what woman wants to resemble an overstuffed Buddha, particularly after she’s just spread diet mayonnaise on her turkey and alfalfa sandwich?

Read this article in it’s original production by clicking here.

On to the Video!

Here’s a really awesome video that shows you first hand, the power of subliminal advertising. HINT: Pay attention the car ride in the beginning of the video.

Let us know what you think! Please feel free to leave your comments below and let us know what you’re thoughts are subliminal advertising. Submit your own examples of subliminal advertising and we’ll post them on our blog under this post. Send submissions to AMetz@amprowritingservices.com

Happy Writing! A.M. Professional Writing Services

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10 Emerging Social Media Platforms to Help Your Business

September 9, 2010 1 comment

Social Media is King!

It’s no secret that with the evolution of social media, everybody is beginning to hone their computer skills and brush up on technology to keep up with the ever-changing platforms. Pretty much anybody can use and benefit from Social Media is some way. From the average home user who wishes to keep in touch with family and friends to corporations using social media to promote sales, brand identity, marketing, etc., etc., it’s an effective and accessible medium on many different levels. Here are 10 emerging apps involving social media that will hopefully help your business find its mark on the social media map.

Follow this link to mashable.com where you can read the full article and watch videos demonstrating these apps. www.mashable.com

10 Apps and How Your Business Can Use Them

1. Gowalla

2. SCVNGR

3. Whrrl

4. Loopt Star

5. Brightkite

6. Aardvark

7. Quora

8. Help A Reporter Out

9. NewsBasis

10. StatusNet

Let us know what you think about this blog post by leaving your comments and suggestions below. We are always happy to hear what you have to say.


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Happy Writing! A.M. Professional Writing Services

Interested in advertising on our blog or website ?

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What’s in Store for Advertising ?

Advertising and Social Media Future

As advertisers and marketers, we are all aware that in this industry, change in inevitable. It’s a repeating pattern that we’ve experienced time and time again. Advertising has evolved from print materials that once ruled the industry to an online presence that has taken the world by storm. It’s a very rare experience that you can visit a webpage that isn’t bombarded with advertisements from a variety of industries. As technology continues to grow, we are beginning to see the scope and depth of advertising mediums deemed impossible just a few years ago. This industry is changing, and it’s changing daily. So what does the future of advertising look like ? For the answer, we must turn to one of most innovative and fastest growing aspects of advertising; SOCIAL MEDIA.

In a recent article featured on mashable.com a panel of experts was chosen to answer the questionable future of advertising. And they all agree…Social Media is on the rise and it will continue to rise. So, where do we start ?

SOFTWARE IS THE NEW MEDIUM

As Tom Bedecarré, CEO of AKQA, an agency high regarded for its work in digital and interactive advertising says…

One of the newest forms of media is not media at all, but software and platforms. Increasingly, AKQA is developing applications and marketing platforms that provide greater utility, entertainment and information to our clients’ customers without relying on traditional media channels. One example of this is the Fiat eco:Drive application we created that allows Fiat drivers to monitor their driving skills and fuel efficiency and helps drivers to lower CO² emissions.

Much like the computer-centered community that we have become, software will always have a place in advertising and marketing. With advancements in industries such as automobiles, software will continue to play a big part in bringing in consumers. After all, who wouldn’t want to be able to monitor the efficiency of a hefty investment like a car or truck. Other industries are now beginning to join the software bandwagon and are in turn offering consumer to consumer platforms like forums and discussions boards, allowing consumers to review and discuss their purchases and experiences with businesses worldwide. Businesses monitor these mediums and use them to improve customer satisfaction and service.

GROUPS AND FRIENDS: THE POWER OF THE HIVE MIND

So you want to get inside your consumers brain and “think like as consumer” ? No problem. Just go after their friends!

The  habits of shopping and buying can be used to measure the success of campaigns such as coupons. Take into account what your consumers friends are saying, doing and buying and act on it. More than likely, satisfying those needs will lead consumers to listen to friends about your products and in turn, lead them to make purchasing decisions. As the old saying goes, “Friends listen to their friends.” Attack Social Media opportunities with streams of “likes” and offer your consumers the ability to discuss their purchase behavior.

The key is that the group buying activity needs to be present in your friends’ streams. Combine ‘likes’ with mass purchase behavior, and you’ve got the perfect storm of a signal that says, ‘Your friend got in on the deal, maybe you should too.’

LOCATION CAMPAIGNS ARE THE NEW MEDIUM

By now we’ve all heard of some location-based campaign from FourSquare to Facebook’s Places. Location based advertising uses the simple aspect of rewarding consumers for the patronage and loyalty to companies by offering incentives such as discounts, freebies and others. The premise is easy: the more frequently you shop at the same location the better the rewards. And it’s working beautifully.

With the ability to target people only when they are within purchasing distance, brands will be able to come that much closer to targeting nirvana. Offers can be made only to those meeting certain location (and even demographic) requirements, reducing waste and actually saving a brand a lot of money by minimizing its old school spray-and-pray mass marketing techniques. In a nutshell, mobile will, once and for all, make it possible for a marketer to target without waste.

It’s very easy to understand that Social Media has and will continue to have an everlasting effect on advertising and marketing worldwide. Experts warn that if you have yet to jump on ship with social media, you better get moving. Businesses have seen huge increases in profits and sales by utilizing strategies the put the power into the hands of the consumer. Don’t believe us ? Setup a Facebook page for your business, promote it effectively and efficiently and see what happens. We promise it will leave you with a smile.

To read the full article from mashable, click here!

Happy Writing! A.M. Professional Writing Services