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?

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