Oct 2, 2010

The most valuable card in your wallet

On September 9, 2010 Harvey Mackay wrote an article titled “The most valuable card in your wallet” In the article you’ll discover that the most valuable card you have is not your credit card, driver’s license or even insurance card. It’s your library card.

Mackay announces September as “The library card renew month.” I want to do the same, and encourage to renew your library card. If your card hasn’t expired, great.

How often do you use it?

Most people go through their whole life never realizing the hidden treasure in their wallets. I hope you use your library card. I do. It’s not a secret; the most successful people know more. There’s no excuse for ignorance, public libraries are free.

Enough preaching. You know what to do.

Finns: If you want to double your reading speed and improve your reading comprehension in 7 days, with less than 20 minutes practicing per day, visit this site http://www.finlandiaacademy.fi/ It’s my new company that publishes and sells directly self-help home study courses in Finnish. My first product is 7 day speed reading course. Have a look.

And even if you are not planning to start the free trial, have a look at the web site. Maybe you'll learn something. Click the link to go to: http://www.finlandiaacademy.fi/

Sep 6, 2010

Wanted: Freelancer copywriting projects

Would you like an experienced freelancer direct marketing copywriter to have look at your web site, sales letters, ads or brochures and give you ideas how to improve them – for free?

Look no further, because I’m ready to give you an honest opinion on how I would increase your sales. In my previous job at AdEffie Inc Oy, Finnish online ad network, I saw over half billion online banner ads and their direct impact to sales – or lack of impact, which was often the case, too.

I know what works in online and offline advertising. If you would like me to have a look at your materials in Finnish or English just send me a link to your web site via email jappinen.timo@gmail.com or attach your files to an email, and I’ll give you comments what you could do to increase your sales and profits today.

There’s no obligation and no strings attached. It won’t cost you a cent. I’ll quickly tell you if I can help to increase your revenues or not.

I have worked with companies from one man web stores to direct marketing giants like Reader’s Digest and Guthy-Renker (Zumba Fitness, TV-Shop and Proactiv).

As you know, you may not be able to meet your customers or the prospect company’s CEO whenever you want, but your letter can. What you say in it makes the difference between a profit and loss.

In early 2010, I did couple of small freelancer projects for Drayton Bird and his associates in London. The late David Ogilvy said: “Drayton Bird knows more about direct marketing than anyone in the world.”  

Afterwards Drayton give me a flattering testimonial saying: "Timo is one of the most impressive young people I have come across – and I have come across quite a few. He has an exceptional grasp of what this business is about – and also, most unusually, considerable creative talent."

I won’t argue with that.

Now, why not email me a couple of samples of your ads you would like improve, but you don’t know how, or you simply don’t have time to do it yourself? I don’t blame you. But please hurry as my calendar is also getting fatter every day. I can only handle very few new freelance clients.

I’m based in Helsinki, Finland in case you want to meet me in person. You can email me at jappinen.timo@gmail.com or call me on +358 40 730 3065

Why not do it right now before you do anything else?

Aug 29, 2010

Ad Man's Book Club: August 2010 Choice

A Technique for Producing Ideas -
James Webb Young

"James Webb Young is in the tradition of some of our greatest thinkers when he describes the workings of the creative process. He not only makes this point vividly for us but shows us the road to that goal."

–William Bernbach, Former Chairman and CEO, Doyle Dane Bernbach (DDB)

This book is a step by step guide for producing ideas for anything. Before I tell you what the steps are, let’s look at the man himself.

James Young Webb is ranked at the 52. of Advetising Age’s Top 100 People of The Century. He is listed higher than Lester Wunderman, Victor O. Schwab and J. Walter Thompson.

James Webb Young build a successful mail-order business after he retired from JWT advertising agency, where he worked as a creative director and vice president.

Five steps to big ideas

1. Gather material about the problem
2. Digest it
3. Let go of the problem
4. An idea will appear
5. Shape the idea

Now, I won’t tell you exactly how the process works because I want you to read James Webb Young’s A Technique for Producing Ideas. The paperback has only 64 pages. It takes less than an hour to read. Amazon sells it for 6.95 $ last time I checked. Order it here.

Aug 14, 2010

Checklist: How to design a landing page that sells

1. What are you trying to achieve? If you are trying to create a landing page that converts your visitors into paying customers, I can help you.

2. Does your opening has a strong promise that leads the reader into your copy? Don’t give away everything at once. News and benefits in the headline work every time.

3. For example: the title of the bestseller book “How to win friends & influence people” still sells today – after 70 years. Why? Because it promises a benefit that appeals to the reader’s self-interest, and has the words “How to” that command you to find out more.

4. Do you demonstrate the product? The internet allows you have as many videos, pictures and words as you want. Try Before & After shots. They tend to work.

5. Don’t be afraid of long copy. Be afraid of not being interesting. Say enough to make the sale. To get ideas on what say on your website find out what are the most common questions people ask from your customer service. You will help everyone if you answer them in your copy.

6. Do you use active language and short, simple words? Instead of “we utilize” say, “we use.”

7. Are you appealing to logic only? Humans are emotional creatures, even business people. Did you know gimmicks work especially well on them? Many of them are bored behind their desks.

8. Add icons of banks and credit cars to your website to increase your credibility. Make your phone number visible – and answer it if someone calls.

9. Mention your money back guarantee early in your copy.

10. Have you tested different versions of your landing page? Here’s one free tool for that: www.google.com/websiteoptimizer

11. Do you have high production quality? It builds trust. Clear pictures are important because the reader cannot see the physical product.

12. Do you show people on your landing page? This also build trust.

13. Testimonials from your customers and respected authors in the field are convincing and should be used lavishly.

14. Do you have an incentive if the visitor acts today?

15. Do you ask for the order at least three times? McGraw-Hill research revealed that an average salesman makes the sale after the fifth call. 

16. Captions under the picture are read more carefully than rest of your website. Use them to sell.

17. When you design your web site ask what the visitor is looking for when they arrive? Where do they come from? Directly or through a special ad? Are they able to find the information they are looking for quickly?

18. Is the message personal, clear and direct? Claude Hopkins, the author of Scientific Advertising says: "Your message should single out your prospect like a bell-boy paging a man in a crowded hotel lobby."

19. Are you talking to yourself or to the prospect?

Please write to comments what would you add?

Aug 11, 2010

A free gift for Finnish readers

As the rest of Europe is still on summer holiday, us Finns are working. Here's something for Finnish readers only:

Tulospohjainen internet-mainonta Suomessa: Näin kasvatat myyntiäsi ja voittojasi ilman riskiä  Lue ilmainen 8-sivun opas.

Jul 27, 2010

Discover the hidden profits that lie in your online advertising budget

If you are like most marketers today, you are losing money online – and you don’t know it. Read this and I will tell how you can discover the fortune that lies hidden in your online advertising budget.

There are three ways you can advertise on the internet:

1. Display advertising
You pay for attention. You buy time on the media or views. Media owner’s pet. This model is familiar from TV and print advertising. You don’t have to pay for clicks or sales that your advertising may produce. Easy to buy and budget.

The least interactive – and usually the most expensive – way to communicate online.

2. Pay Per Click advertising
You buy visitors to your web site. You pay only when someone clicks your ad. You get the views for free. Easy to buy and budget. Google makes their money here.

You don’t know who clicks your ad. You need be ready to “invite people in” at your web site. Don’t make the mistake most companies make; flush your visitors down the toilet. Try get the people to your database to start a relationship with them.

3. Cost Per Order advertising
You only pay when someone buys something from you. If you don’t sell anything online you can use this model when someone registers to your service, signs-up to your newsletter, inquires for more information, for example. You get the views and clicks for free. This is risk-free advertising.

For an advertiser, the Cost Per Order / Cost Per Action advertising is easy to buy, but challenging to budget because no one can guarantee sales in advance without testing.

Can you guess which models are the most popular? The first and the second. Hard to believe? You are not alone.

Why the Cost Per Order / Cost Per Action advertising is the underdog of online advertising and how you can profit from it:
It’s a sad truth that an average marketing director rather spends his budget on something that doesn’t produce results than to budget a part of it to something that guarantees profit.

“What if no one buys from us?” “What if I’m not able to spend my budget by the end of the year?” “I may not get as much money again.”

What many marketers and agencies fail to understand:
You can’t lose money with Cost Per Order advertising, because you only pay for your advertising when someone buys something from you. The commission is fixed, your cost will never outmaneuver you – even if you are poor in math like I am. It's an investment that feeds itself. You can’t lose.

PS. Please share this message with anyone you think could profit from learning more about risk-free online advertising.

Jul 20, 2010

How to sell: Why keeping your mouth shut pays you more than talking

Don’t know how to sell? Shut up and listen.

It’s that easy. When was the last time you met salesman who listened you? Was he or she a someone who asked lots of questions before the sales pitch? If you met a person like that, chances are you didn’t see him or her as a someone in sales, but as a someone who was genuinely interested in you and your problem. 

Discover why keeping your mouth shut pays you more than talking
  1. How do you know your prospect really interested in your offer if you don't get to know his or her situation?
  2. You spend less time with your prospect after you have asked enough questions about his business and field to understand it better, rather than shooting with eyes blinded. With more information you can tailor your offer to match his needs.
  3. How many times when a telemarketer has called you, you would have told that you have already a similar product or that you just don’t need it right now – but never got the opportunity to speak? Instead of questions about you, they talk how great their magazine is, even though you may only read articles and news online. If they asked more questions, they would know that, and could be already talking to the next, more potential customer instead of wasting time with you.
  4. Next time when you run out of words with your customer, hold your tongue. Watch what happens. Often it is the customer who starts to talk to fill in the silence. That new information you get might help you to make the sale.
  5. It is much easier, and smarter, to keep the prospect talking than try to come up with clever lines just to impress a silent rock. You need feedback to target your message. Your questions produce that feedback. Questions are also a great tool to build trust between you and your customer. It shows that you care about them.
  6. During all my time in sales, no person has ever asked me to stop asking questions about him or her. (Do you enjoy talking about yourself or do you enjoy a pushy salesperson who tries to force you to buy instantly the new super glue? Frankly, I’m more interested in myself.)

How to make people buy from you  
People buy from people whom they believe and trust. Your first goal as a salesperson is to make your customer trust you. You can't start selling before that. Trust is the only way they will buy ever from you. Ten odd years ago I learned that the job of a salesman was to ask excellent questions from customers, not to create sleek sales presentations. Don't believe me? Try it.

For more information about listening your way into sales, listen Brian Tracy’s The Psychology of Selling audio cd and read Dale Carnegie’s How to win friends and influence people

As Dale Carnegie's book says: “From now on, I keep my mouth shut. It pays.”

Jul 15, 2010

Ad Man's Book Club: July 2010 Choice

How to Write Sales Letters That Sell: 
Learn The Secrets to Successful Direct Mail 
- Drayton Bird

David Ogilvy said, "Drayton Bird knows more about direct marketing than anyone in the world." That's the statement that got me curious about Mr. Bird. To my surprise – and maybe to his own – Drayton Bird is still around writing copy after 50 years in the business.

He has written four books so far. I think How to Write Sales Letters That Sell is the most practical. There is very little theory. The book is filled with examples from companies you would never guess use direct mail. 

Who uses direct mail today

One letter sells frozen steaks, one is from Richard Branson offering free drinks on a Virgin airplane, another one is the famous "Quite frankly, the American Express card is not everyone" -letter. There is also a copy of the Wall Street Journal's two-page letter that sold subscriptions for over ONE BILLION dollars.

Bird doesn't just show you successful direct mail, he explains why they worked or didn't work, and how you too can write successful letters that make people buy.

Why direct mail is more than just paper in a flashy envelope screaming "Buy!"

On the page 129, there's a story how Ogilvy & Mather used live pigeons to deliver their sales message to Cessna airplanes' prospects. To get a free test flight, the prospect had to let the bird out. The story goes that many of the pigeons never returned because, according to David Ogilvy, "Some of those mean bastards cooked and ate the birds."

On the page 18: The most important letter you will ever write... 

... Your job application. And you will learn to do it better than most of your competitors by reading this over 300-page book. Did you know that Victor Ross, the former Chairman of Reader's Digest said it is, "the ultimate how-to book of direct mail letter writing."

You can get How to Write Sales Letters That Sell from Amazon.

Jun 29, 2010

Online Advertising: A Challenge to Marketing Directors

This article is my war cry to you, fellow marketer. I live in a country where engineering skills are more appreciated than salesmanship. It is a common joke in Finnish universities that those who spent their first year partying go study marketing, and later to work in marketing.

In Finland people who are fascinated by facts and measurable sciences usually study finance or engineering – but not marketing. In my experience marketing subject appeals to those who like big ideas, theories and intangibles. I want to change that.

Before the year 2000 things were different. Earlier marketing managers and their advertising agencies celebrated their TV and print ad campaigns. When sales grew, the clever campaign earned advertising awards.

When sales came down during the ad campaign, agencies invented new ways to measure success: brand familiarity and awareness. “Brand is feeling, and it cannot be measured in money” was the new mantra. And again, marketing directors and agencies popped bubbling wine to celebrate as the new metrics grew. But then something happened...

...A new comer started to gain ground – the internet took off. Unlike any other media in the history, the reason why the internet was invented – was not to make money, but to connect people and make information sharing easier. I don’t have to tell you that it didn’t take long for companies to spot its potential. It makes sense to advertise where lots of people spend time. And soon online services financed by advertising like Google and Facebook started to flourish. Popularity of the web wasn’t the only change that threw marketers and agencies off balance.

The internet and three major changes facing marketers

Online you can measure the results of your advertising per every cent you spend: who saw your ad, how many clicked the ad, who bought your product after they clicked, and who bought it two weeks later? This changed three things in marketing and media:

One, your return on marketing investment (ROMI / ROI) can be measured more accurately than ever before.

Two, your advertising needs to make people act now – not after 18 month multi-million brand advertising circus.

Three, the business model of media changed. Instead of media coverage, online medias sell you clicks i.e. visitors to your web site, or you only pay for the results your advertising gets. That’s result-based advertising where media coverage is free and you only pay for results you get, such as orders or inquiries.

Publisher’s confession

Against common belief, the result based advertising model is not new. For decades newspaper and magazine publishers around the world have sold their media space to mail-order advertisers, who could prove that the order was made because of the coupon on the paper. The same model can be seen on music television where ring-tone advertisers pay for the orders that their TV ad gets. These companies get the coverage and media time for free.

With online advertising networks, the advertiser only pays for the results which the ad network brings in. The online ad networks – such as AdEffie, to whom I work for – have collected hundreds, sometimes thousands of popular web sites together to aim automatically your advertising to right people, in relevant content, at the right time, to produce you maximum amount of sales, inquiries, visitors or coverage for you. All the advertiser needs is a set of banners, and the online ad network does the rest.

Risk-free advertising?

You think that the concept of results based advertising would be easy to sell for marketers, but so far my experience in Finland has been opposite. Sure, there are savvy marketers who get the it at once (thank God for those clients) but the majority of companies are still living somewhere in 1990’s where accountability and marketing is not mentioned in the same sentence. Unfortunately, the socially skilled Chief Marketing Officer who spent their youth partying in college may be unable to handle the challenge of scientific advertising.

Perhaps that is one of the reasons why TV and print still gets the biggest part of the marketing director’s budget. It’s old and familiar – and without any guarantees of concrete results such sales. Albert Einstein put it well, “Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”

To managers it’s useful information that advertising and media buying has become a risk-free investment which can be a powerful weapon in right hands. Here is my question to you: what should the marketer do in this changing world?

P.S. Subscribe to my blog via email CLICK HERE

Jun 24, 2010

Ad Man's Book Club: June 2010 Choice

How to Write a Good Advertisement
- Victor O. Schwab

I was skeptical about this book for months. Its green cover with a weird picture of an old computer keeps showing up if you browse advertising books on Amazon. I didn't think the book had much to offer. How wrong I was...

The author Victor Schwab worked 44 years in advertising. He is a hardened mail order man who counted sales from every direct-response ad he wrote.

Besides selling products for millions of dollars, he documented what worked and what didn't work in advertising. Schwab doesn't guess, he knows, thanks to the scientific methods of testing every element of the ads he created.

One time reading is a mere scratch on the surface of this 224 page book. The best way to read it, is to enjoy it bit by bit and let the information sink in slowly. There is simply too much cake for one sitting.

How to Write a Good Advertisement includes:

-List of 100 headlines proven to sell
-Psychological backgrounds of common buyer types and how you can influence them

-It answers whether negative or positive tone works better
-You learn the eight milestones to a sale
-How to design effective layouts
-And much more...

Curiously, the real secret of the author's success in advertising was to work harder than his peers. Victor Schwab openly suggest to his readers to do the same, if they also want to get ahead in their careers. My advice to get started on that path is to read the book.

Jun 3, 2010

How to Test Your Online Advertising

Do you know how to test your online advertising? Here's what little I know about testing your advertising. Testing tells you what works and what doesn't work.

Test big things. Don't guess – test. On the web testing is not about money. It's about knowledge.

Small differences in statistics are not enough to make an assumption. Just like in investing, the past doesn't guarantee your success in the future. Direct marketing is like gambling where you control the odds, but they are still odds.

It's easy to draw convincing curves of your expected response with your computer, but nothing happens until someone buys something.

What to test: The list* in its order of importance.
  1. Target group/Segmentation
  2. Positioning
  3. Channel
  4. Offer
  5. Incentive
  6. Strategy
  7. Creative
*From the book Reinventing Direct and Interactive Marketing by Stan Rapp and his friends.

Notice anything strange on that list? I brought up this topic in my previous article Digital and Direct Marketing: Elements of Promotion, creative work ranks LAST in the order of importance.

If you aim to the right customers and make a good offer, you are almost there. Brilliant creative work can't save you if you don't reach the right people.

Now, it's tempting to say that creative doesn't matter, but it does. Bill Bernbach once said, "Properly practiced creativity can make one ad do the work of ten." Amen.

May 28, 2010

Digital and Direct Marketing: Elements of Promotion

"I have never tried to be original in my life." –Mozart

I believe in stealing ideas. What works in one country often works in another country too. It's much easier to use time-tested methods than to re-invent the wheel every time – especially in marketing. Inspired by Mozart here we go.

Bob Stone and Ron Jacobs, the authors of Successful Direct Marketing Methods, say there are five elements of promotion. Here they are with their weight in a direct marketing program:

      • List / Media 40%
      • Offer 20%
      • Layout / Format 15%
      • Copy 15%
      • Timing 10%

The traditional elements of a direct marketing program are list/media 40%, offer 40% and creative 20%. Because we live in a world where everything can be measured, I recommend the more detailed approach. But don't fall in love with numbers – only measure things relevant to you.

Most people make the mistake to focus on the creative side rather than finding answer that has weight in the scale. If you compare the old and new approach you will notice that creative gets only 20-30% of the weight – while picking the right media with a good offer brings 60-80% of the success of your marketing program.

By the way, I'm sorry that I haven't been writing to you as much as usually during the past three months. I will try to write more.

I'm proud to announce that lately I have been pushing
forward our new business AdEffie online advertising network in Finland. In the past weeks I have got many new clients – including Reader's Digest.

Until next time,


May 20, 2010

Ad Man's Book Club: May 2010 Choice

Writing That Works: How to Communicate Effectively in Business - Kenneth Roman and Joel Raphaelson

"It's the Strunk and White of the business world" promises the cover.

I read The Elements of Style by William Strunk and E.B. White, after Matti Apunen, editor in chief of Aamulehti (Finland's second largest newspaper) recommended it to me when I asked him how to write better.

This article should be a triumph for both books, but because we are both in a hurry, let's focus today on Writing That Works.

You may be surprised how much you write. Today emails, Twitter and Facebook force you to write much more than you would have ten years ago – and it's public. How many emails do you send daily? How people see you based on your emails?

Here is my point. You will be judged based on your writing more and your physical presence less. While people skills are probably the most important skills you will ever need in life, today, it is your writing in business that people judge before you get to meet them.

Think about what Google does. It's a master at scanning and understanding text. For Google, pictures are still secondary. If over 90 per cent of business starts from a Google search, how important is your written material?

Let's boldly assume that you are now just a little more motivated to learn how to improve your writing. Writing That Works is just the right tool for you. It's clear, easy to read and has less than 200 pages.

Writing That Works will teach you how to write:
  • Presentations that move ideas to action
  • Memos and letters that get things done
  • Plans and reports that make things happen
  • Fund-raising and sales letters that produce results
  • Resumes and letters that lead to interviews
  • Speeches that make a point

Why should you listen to these authors?
Kenneth Roman is former Chairman and CEO of Ogilvy & Mather Worldwide. Joel Raphaelson is former Executive Creative Director of the same company. After David Ogilvy finished writing Ogilvy on Advertising, he sent it to Joel with a note saying: "Please improve".

By the way, a good to way improve your writing is to read more.

You can get Writing That Works from Amazon

May 3, 2010

8 Ways How to Write Better

1. Clear headlines. 80 per cent of your readers decide based on your headline whether to read your message or not.
2. Brevity. Use short simple words. For example, pick the word Use over Utilize. Make sure that everyone understands you. Winston Churchill says, "Broadly speaking, the short words are the best, and the old words best of all."
3. Use numbered lists to tie your text together. Numbers make your message faster to read and easier to refer to.
4. Don't write when you can say it in person.
5. Does your writing sound like a real person talking? It should. Write the way you speak. I hope you don't speak the way most people write.
6. Learn your grammar. My grammar is horrible, I know. But at least I'm working on it.
7. Use sub-headings to make your long texts easier – and more interesting – to read.
8. End your message with a call to action. Make it clear exactly what you want your reader to do. I.e. "Can you comment this by the end business on Friday?"
And here's one little suggestion more for you – keep studying. The best resource I know about copywriting is here.

Apr 24, 2010

"Why Salesmanship Matters Today More Than Ever Before"

Why salesmanship matters
1. We have moved from advertising simple commodities like washing powder to more complex services and products which require greater salesmanship skills to persuade people to use them.

2. Today the customer has a wider selection of choices and competition is tougher than ever before – and the situation isn't going to get easier.

3. The results of your advertising can be tracked down to every cent you spent.

4. It's almost frightening to think that on the internet your every click, minute and action is saved to some distant database. Whether that information is used or not is a different story, but it's there.

5. Companies have started to measure their marketing activities more. A new group of consultants have began to help clients to understand massive loads of online behavioral data. The next step is to use it. But how?

6. You need salesmanship to make people act. Even the fanciest graphics and analysis can't replace the fact that today you need to be better at selling than you were ten years ago. It's salesmanship, not statistics, that makes your prospects buy.

I think Rory Sutherland, vice chairman of Ogilvy Group UK, is one of the most interesting characters in advertising business today. Rory Sutherland's one of the latest videos is titled "Why Salesmanship Matters Really Matters" where he tells you interesting facts about advertising today. Click here to watch it.

If you want to learn more about how Rory Sutherland thinks, watch his TED Talk "Life lessons from an ad man" – You will learn how a group of naked supermodels could have solved a problem that an army of engineers, several years and billions of dollars couldn't.

Apr 17, 2010

How to Create Responsive Banner Ads

Yesterday I was watching videos from Drayton Bird Commonsense Marketing training course, when Drayton's definition of direct marketing stopped me:

"Direct marketing is any communication through any medium which reaches people directly, or where they respond directly."

Encouraged by the previous words – here's a part from the book called Successful Direct Marketing Methods. This chapter in it is titled "Creating Responsive Banner Ads"

Testing has confirmed that following guidelines lead to banner ads that get the highest number of clicks:
  • Keep it simple. Too much text, too many graphics, too many colors overload users and discourage them from clicking through.

  • Show people. Banner ads that depict people that users can identify with get higher CTRs (Click-Through-Rate).

  • Use clear qualifying language. The better the copy describes what a site is about, the better qualified the the person clicking through will be.

  • Use a strong call to action. The call-to-click should define the main action(s) prospects are expected to take.

  • Create a sense of urgency. Ask users to click now; no one can click on a banner once it's gone.

  • Use the words "Click here" on the banner. Simple as it sounds, banner with "Click here" consistently pull better than banner ads without.

  • Use color carefully. Look at the sites (if possible) where the banner ad will run and choose colors that will compliment the campaign objective on those sites.

  • Use movement. It draws attention to the ad on an otherwise static page.

  • Think of a banner ad as teaser copy for a Web site. 

  • Use high production values. The cleaner and more professional a banner ad looks, the more credibility it conveys, and the higher the CTR will be.

  • Test, test, test. Test new banner ads, new offers, new calls to action, new approaches, and rich media.
Stay tuned for more information about digital and direct marketing. If you didn't get enough, you may also read:

"Top 7 Mistakes on Performance Based Online Advertising in Finland – and How to Get Them Right" or "How to Create An Effective Viral Marketing Campaign"

This one is also worth reviewing (I didn't write it) How to Brief Your Advertising Agency

As always, please share these articles with your friends and colleagues. Sharing knowledge helps everyone.

Subscribe to my blog via email CLICK HERE

Apr 14, 2010

Ad Man's Book Club: April 2010 Choice

Scientific Advertising - Claude C. Hopkins

My friend Aleksi put it well when he read this book. He said there are two ways to do advertising.

One, you trust that creativity and artistic hunches will make your advertising campaigns successful. Sometimes you hit a jackpot when your guess is right and your campaign increases your sales.

Two, you create advertising that sells, because you have studied and tested it, to find out what works in advertising, and why.

Claude Hopkins was the first author to do the latter. The book Scientific Advertising is written in 1923 and it was locked in a safe for 20 years because his boss thought the information in it was too valuable to be shared. For example, consider Hopkins' view on testing:

"Suppose a chemist would say in an arbitrary way that this compound was best, or that better. You would little respect his opinion. He makes tests – sometimes hundreds of tests – to actually know which is best. He will never state a supposition before he has proved it. How long before advertisers in general will apply that exactness to advertising?"

Scientific Advertising by Claude Hopkins is packed with metaphors like this. It's entertaining and informative book about advertising that works. Hopkins founded his beliefs in mail-order advertising, and then moved to general advertising because he thought it was easier business to succeed. Most famous products he has helped are Palmolive and Pepsodent.

I wrote a few articles ago that people like Drayton Bird, Rosser Reeves and David Ogilvy swore to Scientific Advertising's wisdom. Ogilvy says "Nobody should be allowed to have anything to do with advertising until they have read this book seven times." – I would make it eight.

Here is a link to buy the book or download it here for free

Apr 3, 2010

How to Increase Your Customer's Life-Time Value 300%

How much is one customer worth to you? Most companies spend their money to get new customers rather than to look after their best profit source – existing customers.

It's said that it's 15 times easier to sell more to an old customer than to get one new customer. Yet, most companies miss this opportunity. They try expensive advertising campaigns to get new customers without a clear plan what do once they get a customer.

Companies like American Express, Apple and Amazon.com know that it pays to look after your current customer because they are most likely to buy again and more from you.

Let's say, one customer is worth to you a thousand euros per year. What if I told how to double or triple your customer's value over the next 12 months?

Here is why it's wise and profitable to focus more your attention to your old customers:
  1. Your customer has the power to refer to his or her friends about your product or service.
  2. Your customer's Life-Time Value (LTV) goes up like an Apollo rocket if your every customer brings in two or three new customers.
Direct marketers call this a-friend-get-a-friend model. A fancier term for it is Viral Marketing. Here is my question to you: Have you asked for referrals from your customers?

Most people are happy to recommend a product or service which they use. They are pleased if you ask for their advice. Even if the customer doesn't buy from you today, they might know someone who will. The most important thing in sales is to ask.

According to research, customers are most likely to recommend a product right after they have purchased it. But, in business-to-business sales I have discovered that you get more referrals when your prospect decides not to buy. People like to help.

Apr 1, 2010

Top 7 Mistakes on Performance Based Online Advertising in Finland and How to Get Them Right

I'm an impatient man. I like to get things done. I quickly try new ways to solve problems. This means I fail a lot – and often. Maybe that's why guys at the office call me "Speedy."

Lately, my biggest concern is performance based online advertising in Finland. You and I are both in a hurry so let's get to it. Here are:

Top seven mistakes on performance based online advertising in Finland and how to get them right

1. Lack of testing. You wouldn't think that anyone spends hundreds of thousands or even millions to something without testing it first. On advertising that often is the case – and the most common reason to failure. The three words that you never see on advertising plans are: a test budget

2. Poor creative work. Cheap and made in hurry by amateurs is too often the case with online advertising. "The internet is free, right?" Wrong. Some companies that do understand that it pays to invest to online marketing, and test new things, get bigger revenues every day as more business is done on the web.

3. No clear plan. How do you measure your success? When will you review your ads? How often will you test new creative work? Online advertising doesn't work like print, on the web you can change, test and edit your advertising as you go. But above all, have a consistent plan to do so and your advertising will never stop improving.

4. Poor offer. How often have you clicked on a banner or a link just to find out that the offer is just hot air without value? One version of the offer is not enough. You need to try with different versions and call-to-actions to know what works. If you haven't tested other offers how do you know if the performance based online advertising really works or doesn't work with your product?

5. Short vague copy text. Is your text precise, clear and tangible? Would your grand mother understand it? You need to overcome every objection in your copy text to make the sale. It's not an accident that Amazon.com uses long, precise copy. They use it because according to tests, it sells more.

6. Lack of direct marketing expertise. If your advertising agency haven't done any direct-response advertising how do you expect them to make people RESPOND to your online advertising? Use professional direct marketers and pay them enough because it will be in a direct proposition to the results you get. Jack Trout said it best, "You can't save yourself to success."

7. No written goals. "More sales" is hardly a goal. It's a wish. A five thousand registered customers before June 2010 is a clear and measurable goal. I have come to think that lack of goals is because people are afraid that they won't be able achieve them. Remember what Leo Burnett, the founder of one of the world's largest ad agencies and the father of Marlboro Man, said "When you reach for the stars you may not get one, but you won't come up with a handful of mud either."

 - What would you add to this list?

By the way, if you have a friend or a colleague who is interested in marketing, why not share this article with them?

Mar 25, 2010

The History of Digital Direct Marketing

What do you know about the history of advertising? Here's what little I know about the history of digital and direct marketing.

Who invented direct marketing
60 odd years ago, a man named Lester Wunderman created the term 'Direct Marketing.' Today Lester's foundation lives on as global Wunderman agency network grows. At the same time when the 'direct marketing' term was introduced also another pioneer was experimenting with it. That man was David Ogilvy, he introduced it under the name 'Direct-Response Advertising' during 1950's.

While Wunderman is a respectable agency, it was Ogilvy who applied those tested and proven lessons of direct marketing to general advertising most widest. But it wasn't Ogilvy who was the first to use direct marketer's secrets to mass media advertising.

The grand father of digital direct marketing
The real pioneer of advertising that sells is Claude C. Hopkins, who was paid an amazing one million dollar yearly salary in 1920's as a copywriter. Hopkins is the author of Scientific Advertising which is a bible to many advertising people around the world –including me. Drayton Bird notes that "It's the best book ever written" and Ogilvy said "Nobody should be allowed to have anything to do with advertising until they have read this book seven times."

Scientific advertising
Hopkins learned from mail-order advertising which measures the success of its advertising based on sales. When some technique worked it was documented and used to again and again. Thanks to testing and following responses, the motives why people buy started to become more clear, and the principles of scientific triggers which make people act were discovered.

Many products launched by
Claude Hopkins are still famous today – almost 100 years later – such as Palmolive and Pepsodent. If you study ads made by him, you will see that most of his techniques still work today. What you will also learn how simple persuasion really is – and how very few people have actually studied it. And how an even smaller percentage have documented what works and how to make people buy.

What is the purpose of advertising
Most copywriters, designers, account executives and clients have never heard that advertising should to sell something – until now. Digital revolution has made everything measurable and accountable. You know by noon whether your online campaign works or not.
It's a dream come true for many of the early practitioners.

Your timing is perfect
When the whole world seems to be over-whelmed with the internet, there is a lesson to learn. The opportunity with the internet is greater than Ogilvy, Wunderman or Hopkins had in their time. If you are willing to test direct marketing principles, methods and techniques to your advertising, especially to online advertising, you will see that advertising is profitable, measurable and powerful weapon in right hands.

To learn more about internet marketing that works read my article Digital Direct Marketing

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Mar 23, 2010

Ad Man's Book Club: March 2010 Choice

Wooden on Leadership - John Wooden
and Steve Jamison

This month's book choice is about leadership. John "Coach" Wooden won 10 NCAA Basketball Championships in a row. It's the Stanley Cup of college basketball.

Wooden won those titles while 40 percent of his team changed positions or left
every year. 20 percent of the team graduated and another 20 percent of freshmen came in – every year. How would you handle that kind of employee turnover in your company?

As former English teacher Wooden believed in written principles like many other architects of great institutes such as David Ogilvy. Here are a few excerpts from the book which you may find interesting.

The book's message is simple:

"Success is peace of mind which is a direct result of self-satisfaction in knowing you made the effort to become the best of which you are capable."

"Set standards high – namely do the absolutely best of which you are capable. Focus on running the race rather than winning it. Do those things necessary to bring forth your personal best and don't lose sleep worrying about competition. Let the competition lose sleep worrying about you. Teach your organization to do the same."

"Star of the team is team."

"When the best leader's work is done the people say, 'We did it ourselves.'" –Lao-tse

"You must earn the right to be confident."

"Never lie; never cheat; never steal. Don't whine; don't complain; don't make excuses."

"Successful leadership is not about being tough or soft, sensitive or assertive, but about a set of attributes. First and foremost is character."

"Emotion is your enemy. Intensity makes you stronger. Emotionalism makes you weaker."

And last, "In the end the choice you make makes you."

You can get the book from Amazon

Previous book of the month choices:

Mar 19, 2010

AdEffie: How to Advertise for Free and Pay Only for Results

Would you like to know:

  • How to advertise for free to a million Finns online and pay only for results?
  • How to increase your sales and profits today without risk?
  • How to beat your competitors with a secret weapon?

First, I’m going to tell how you can increase your sales without risk.

AdEffie Inc. is an online advertising network that reaches one million Finns and counting.

Advertising in our network is free. You only pay for results, such as sales, new orders or subscriptions.

No results, no charge. Does that sound fair to you?

In the worst case, you get your product and brand in front of a million Finns – for free.

In the best case, well, you do the math. How many customers do you need? How much sales and profits would you like? We can deliver them to you.

Powerful and accurate weapon
We can automatically personalize your ads to make them more effective. For example, people who read a news story about Madonna can see our ads served by our network that advertise Madonna's albums or concert tickets. Relevant and personal? Yes. Effective advertising that sells? You bet.

There are several more ways how to improve your advertising campaign's power and impact, but those secrets are revealed
only to our clients.

Who are the people behind AdEffie Inc.

Our team includes the previous CEO of AOL Advertising.com Finland, Pasi Hokkanen, who is also the founder of Digitoday.fi portal, and Jari Torvelainen, the previous CEO of advertising agency Viherjuuri, which was listed on the Helsinki Stock Exchange under the corporate name Evia Oyj.

We have an IT wizard called Joni Seeste, who is the man behind the machine. Joni has extensive professional programming background starting from the time when most people still played Tetris with their computers –if they even knew what a computer was. Mr. Seeste is the chief system architect and leads our IT-team.

I work as the direct marketing specialist of the team and handle new accounts. My job is to make sure that your ad campaign increases your sales and profits.

  • Why is this team important to you? Because our purpose is to combine advertising, media, online and direct marketing expertise to maximize your profits from our online advertising network.

So far, the popularity of AdEffie's pay-for-results (CPA/CPC) advertising model has been outstanding in Finland.

How to increase your sales today
If you have your banners and website ready, you can start advertising in hours. Our system allows you to reach every third online user in Finland at once.

You deliver the advertising material to us and we deliver the customers to you. There are no additional costs or set-up fees if you act now.



Timo Jäppinen

P.S. I urge you to act, because we can only handle a very few new advertisers right now.

P.P.S. Do you know a friend or colleague who wants to advertise for free to a million Finns? Why not share this message with them?


Mar 13, 2010

How to Test the Power of Your Advertising – and Why?

Last week I had an argument with my colleagues about the importance of testing your advertising.

Let me give you reasons why should test.

Would you like to save money and increase your sales? Testing can do that.

How to increase the selling power of your ads? Test different versions and use the one that brings in most SALES. You usually create a few different versions as you write your ads. Let your customers choose the best version through a test campaign. Test new approaches, but never change something just because you think you should. Judge the success of your ads based on SALES.

How to avoid mistakes and save money? Run a few test campaigns before you spend your whole budget. You can't trust only to your judgment when it comes to advertising. On direct and digital marketing you trust the RESULTS, not your gut.

I have seen an ad sell 60 percent more just because a letter font was changed. Here is my point: you can't guess what works, you have to test to know. Watch Drayton Bird's
any presentation and he will show you what ad it was that sold 60 percent more thanks to testing.

  • The reason why I love direct marketing is simple. On direct marketing you know what works, you don't have to guess. You and I doesn't have to argue between our tastes and views on marketing. We can do a simple A/B test and figure out whose version of the ad sells more.

Today testing is cheap and quick
, thanks to the internet. You can do a simple test in the morning and by the noon you have the answers of what works.

By the way, did you know that you are in a privileged position compared to your competitors? If you understand and use direct marketing disciplines, such as testing, to the web your marketing will became bullet-proof.

Do you know who first said, "There are only two rules in advertising. Rule one: test. Rule two: refer to rule one." ?

You may also find these related marketing articles useful:
  1. Do You Make These Mistakes in Marketing?
  2. How to Create a Web Site that Sells
  3. 10 Coca-Cola Social Media Principles
  4. Why Direct Marketing Grows
  5. How to Brief Your Advertising Agency

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Mar 11, 2010

100 Marketing Articles: Readers' Top 5

How to tell that the author has problems to write? He lists old posts under a new headline – just like this.

To celebrate the 100th article of this blog, here are readers' top five list based on popularity:
  1. 3 Signals: Why The Future of Advertising is Digital Direct Marketing
  2. Top 5 Advertising Agencies in Tampere, Finland
  3. 29 Tested Advertising Methods: How Make Your Email Marketing Sell More
  4. Digital Direct Marketing
  5. How to Create an Effective Viral Marketing Campaign 1/2

These articles gained special attention on the social media:
  1. Do You Make These Mistakes in Marketing?
  2. How to Create A Website that Sells
  3. B2B: How This New Business Can Increase Your Sales and Profits

PS You can expect less repeats – like this post – and more useful articles in the future. Thank you for reading.

Mar 9, 2010

How These Tested Online Advertising Methods Can Increase Your Sales

What is the most important thing in business?

If you ask the question from IBM's former president Thomas Watson Jr. he would say, "Nothing happens in business until something gets sold."

This article shows how you can increase your sales and profits with these tested online advertising methods. Let's start from your banners.

How to design an effective banner ad:
  1. Is it clear?
  2. Does your banner communicate a benefit to the reader?
  3. Does the banner arouse curiosity, instead of telling a whole story?
  4. Does it say, "why should I click?"
  5. Is there a strong call action?
  6. Is the banner consistent with the brand image?
  7. Is there a reason to act now? A deadline for the offer or a gift, for example.
  8. Have you tried customer testimonials in your banner ads?
  9. Do you show pictures of real people in your banners? People are interested in people.
Now you have created a banner that people click. They are on your landing page. The next step is closing the sale.

How to creat
e a landing page that sells
Your goal can be to get your visitor to sign-up to your service, subscribe a newsletter, download a case-study or simply make purchase from your web store. You need to know how to create a
landing page that interests your visitors and makes them act the way you want. Here is how.
  • Make your landing page easy to read. Avoid all unnecessary effects and flashy moving graphics. Get to the point at once. What is it exactly you are selling? According to studies you have less than 10 seconds to capture your visitor's attention or they are gone.
Do you have a quick, easy and simple check-out process? Smooth as silk is the way to online success. Don't ask more than necessary information from your customers to make the sale, especially with consumers. After the first sale you have plenty of time to get to know your customer better.

How to write a landing page copy text that sells
The way to sell is to get read first. Begin your la
nding page copy text with a strong reason to continue reading. Make your landing page interesting. Why should someone read it? The reader thinks, "what's in it for me?" Your job is to answer that question.

Use testimonials. Your landing page is the place to tell the full story. Show real people and let them do the selling for you.

Long copy sells more. Your advertising should overcome every objection why NOT to buy from you. Unlike in print advertising, on the internet your advertising space is unlimited. A hint: make your landing page look like editorial content to increase your sales and readership.

"As much as 40 percent of online shopping carts are abandoned"

Do you suffer from this problem? The visitor has watched your video, read your copy, filled the shopping cart, but hesitates at the last step and leaves your website. It's frustrating, isn't it? What you need is one last push to sweeten the offer and close the sale.

How to create irresistible online offers
"Why should I act now?" Here are four tested ways to get your prospect act.
  • "Limited edition"
  • "Limited supply"
  • "Last time at this price"
  • "Special price for promptness"
More tips how to increase your online sales
1. Use video. It is the third most effective media. The first is a real sales person and the second is telemarketing.

2. Try to collect email addresses from your website's every visitor. Use them for marketing. It is amazing how few websites actually do this. Even if they have the email address, they usually don't use it. According to direct marketing study in the USA, email marketing has return on investment (ROI)
43. It means that for every dollar, euro or rupee you spend to email marketing, it brings back 43 more. Is it a good deal?

3. Excellent technical skills, but poor salesmanship is a common problem on online advertising. Technology is only a fraction of marketing. Now that you have the latest online publishing system, so what? You need someone who understands how to get people respond and buy from you.

4. Consult a direct marketing professional always to guarantee that your online advertising sells as much it should.
Is your copy text reviewed and edited by a professional direct marketer to maximize your sales?

5. Use clear page elements to make navigation easy. Every time you stop me online, I get confused. If I don't now what to do next, I'm gone. Did you know that "back" button is the third most used feature on the web?
Be clear. Clarity above creativity.
And last, don't fall in love with possibilities of this new fascinating tool called the internet. Find always the cheapest and quickest way to make the sale.

You may also find these five related marketing articles interesting:
  1. How to Create a Web Site that Sells
  2. How to Brief Your Advertising Agency
  3. 29 Tested Methods: How to Make Your Email Marketing Sell More
  4. Digital Direct Marketing
  5. Do You Make These Mistakes in Marketing?

PS Do you have a friend or colleague who is interested in advertising? Why not share this article with them?

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Mar 4, 2010

7 Ways to Improve Your Mobile Advertising

Do you think that the next big thing in marketing is going to be mobile advertising?

I think it's over hyped, but here are tips for you that work, especially with SMS text marketing.

How to improve your mobile advertising:

1) Is your message clear?
Eliminate empty words.
Would your grandmother understand it?

2) Use your customer's name in the message if possible. This works equally well on email marketing and direct mail.

"Remember that the person's name is to that person the sweetest and most important sound in any language."

–Dale Carnegie

3) Send more messages.
This is an odd tip, isn't it? But test it. I read a study about an email marketing campaign that sent email to the customers every other day. Their sales increased three times compared to the period where they sent only four messages per month. If you have time, you can watch 45 minute "Optimize Email Response" webinar here to learn more.

4) Test. Try different creative work, offers, call-to-actions, words and timing. Test, test and test again. Documented your successes, use and try to beat them.

5) Get your prospect's permission and make it easy to opt-out. Would you believe that I get SMS marketing messages from Nokia, but in them they don't tell me how to opt-out from their list?

6) Don't leave it to juniors. Get involved to learn what is possible to do with mobile advertising. Too often mobile advertising campaigns are run only by an outsourced IT-firm and junior executives who are in no connection with other agencies. That's the best recipe to kill your consistent brand image. Poor campaigns can do more harm than good because the medium in your pocket is so personal.

7) Strong call-to-action.
A hint: Copy best call-to-actions from banners and direct mail letters if you see them repeated over and over again. There is a fair chance that those words and techniques work in mobile advertising too.

Dear reader, here is one more thought before you go. A mobile phone has something that no other media has – a payment system within. If you know how to add mobile payment to your business, it can do the same what credit card did to direct mail. Direct mail exploded when the credit card came. In fact, a mobile phone works as a credit card, even little kids have it – and it's legal.

Do you have tips or thoughts how to do effective mobile advertising? Please comment. Maybe you know a good book or a blog about it? I recommend the book "Mobile Advertising" by Chetan Sharma, Joe Herzog and Victor Melfi, if you want to learn more.

Mar 2, 2010

Digital Direct Marketing Principles

I spent last two days making enemies around the world.

My first target was an Advertising Age article about digital advertising which wondered why traditional advertising agencies get it wrong.

Another casualty of my hate crime was an advertising agency new business blog that published a survey saying, in the future agencies need to know how to use more "pull interactions."

Seriously, what's wrong with these people?

When will the day come when they admit that interactive, relationship, digital, viral, social media, online and search marketing are just accelerated direct marketing?

Instead of wandering in the dark looking for answers on how to get people respond to advertising, why not study professionals who have made interactive marketing a science – over 60 years ago? It's all documented in hundreds of books, videos and seminars.

Yes, I'm talking about the notorious direct marketers. They are the ones who have practised the art of persuasion with scientific methods for decades to learn what works. Direct marketers know how to make people buy. They know how get people respond to advertising on every media whether it's print, TV, radio, mobile, internet or even outdoor.

My life – and I hope yours too – became a lot easier when I accepted the fact that human nature hasn't changed dramatically after the internet became popular about 15 years ago.

Why on earth marketing people run around like turkeys before Thanksgiving Day yelling how it is the end of the world? And how everything you know about consumers doesn't work any more?

I don't know about you, but here are three digital direct marketing principles I have found still work. Beware, they were invented before the year 1995.

Digital direct marketing principles:

  • Is it clear?
  • Is it personal?
  • Does it sell?

“It took millions of years for man’s instincts to develop. It will take millions more for them to even vary. It is fashionable to talk about changing man. A communicator must be concerned with unchanging man, with his obsessive drive to survive, to be admired, to succeed, to love, to take care of his own.”

–Bill Bernbach

You may also find these related marketing articles interesting:

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Feb 26, 2010

How to Brief Your Advertising Agency

If "search the world and steal the best" is your motto then you'll love this. I went through my old papers and found "How to Brief Your Advertising Agency" by Anthony Weir.

Anthony Weir started his career as a copywriter for Batten, Barton, Durstine, and Osborn (BBDO), then worked as a specialist in starting up and managing offices in Asia and Latin America for the Ogilvy & Mather and Leo Burnett advertising agencies.

"How to Brief Your Advertising Agency (and how to increase your chances of getting superb advertising)" is an eight page booklet published in 1984.

These principles are timeless – and priceless. Remember to bookmark and share if you like them.

Here's a summary:

How to brief your agency

  1. Inundate the agency with information.
  2. Make sure all the right people attend the briefing.
  3. Invite the agency to your laboratory and your factory.
  4. Make your brief professional.
  5. Be enthusiastic.
  6. Give your brief a clear format.
  7. Start with the company.
  8. Explain your product in detail.
  9. Explore the problem your product solves.
  10. Review the history of the brand.
  11. Detail the conditions of the market.
  12. Analyze the competition.
  13. Examine the marketing and advertising strategies of the competition.
  14. Define your target consumer with care.
  15. Explain your sales and distribution systems.
  16. Present the product's position in the market today.
  17. Outline your marketing objectives and strategies.
  18. Arrange a field trip to the marketplace.
  19. Tell how you will judge the advertising.
Now you have briefed your agency. You're off and running. Here is how to increase your chances of getting superb advertising:

  1. Avoid management by fear.
  2. Make your agency an extension of your company.
  3. Set high standards – and stick by them.
  4. Require written strategies.
  5. Don't strain your advertising through too many levels.
  6. Don't compete with your agency in the creative area.
  7. Be candid, and encourage candor.
  8. Listen.
  9. Don't be afraid to experiment.
  10. Generate an atmosphere of competitive urgency.
  11. Make sure your agency earns a healthy profit.
  12. Hold formal evalutions.
If you do these things I can guarantee that you will have a happy, healthy and mutually profitable relationship with your agency.

Most important: You will get the advertising you deserve.

By the way, do you have a friend or colleague who is interested in marketing? Why not share this article with them?

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