Category Archives: Advertising

Cost-effective ways to make your business more visible

For a business to be successful, it needs to be visible. Not to just a few people either, but to as many people as possible.

It’s very easy, however, for a small business to get lost. But it is possible to stand out, no matter the size of your business or your budget.

Raise your online profile

Online is where everything is happening. It’s changing the way people interact, shop and live, on a daily basis. To compete in this space, your first step is establishing a website. No business can be without one, really.

Building is a website is not a task you want to tackle yourself. It’s best to enlist the services of an SEO agency to assist you with such a project. A reputable company would be able to design an effective website and get your website, and thus business, ranking on Google with carefully selected keywords.

You should also create profiles for your business on social media channels, like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. Keep in mind that the channels you use should suit your business. A plumbing business, for instance, might not get much value from Facebook. Your SEO agency should be able to advise you on this too.

Once your website is up and running, add the URL to business cards and marketing material. The next step would be an electronic newsletter. Add a ‘share’ function, so that your customers can easily forward it to friends. This is an affordable and effective way to introduce your business to people.

The final bit of strategy would be to start a blog on your website. Articles should be relevant, insightful, and/or helpful. Content that provides all three has the best chance of getting shared.

Don’t forget offline

There is definitely still value in offline strategies, or efforts in the ‘real world’. And they could in fact be even more affordable than online strategies.

Here are some strategies you can consider:

Become an exhibitor. Research upcoming exhibits and expos in your area and get involved. You can set up a stall and man it yourself to meet new and potential customers in person. Exhibiting is also a great way to network with others in your industry.

Sponsor a community event. This will put your business front-and-centre in the area it serves. More than this, it will establish your company as a business that cares. This will do wonders for your brand.

Signage. Your business should have at least one sign, but how visible is it? And could you perhaps add more commercial signage to make your business more visible? Don’t forget moving signage in the form of vehicle branding. If you drive a lot, this is an excellent advertising option.

Be sure to keep your customer and their needs and preferences in mind, no matter which effort you decide on. It’s vital to contact them, and thus become visible, in ways that resonate with them.

 

How cars mimic the internet in marketing

An essential part of your business is visibility. Businesses without clients are much like cities without citizens: pointless and a waste of time. People need to know about what you do in order to acquire your services and products in the first place. And bringing your business to the attention of a potential customer market is the entire point of marketing. Yet, marketing is made in different ways and, in order to be noticed above others, you must consider interesting kinds of marketing others perhaps aren’t using as much.

Why cars are ideal

The most obvious area of marketing today is the internet. To not have a digital presence is, basically, not to have a presence at all. Try name a company that doesn’t have a website and you’ll either be unable to or recognise it’s probably not a million-dollar place. The internet is ideal because so many people use or are connected, all the time. It’s never a place bereft of attention.

However, by focusing all your attention on only this area you might forget there are alternatives that (1) can drive potential customers to your website and (2) in themselves get you potential customers. The internet may be the most important tool for marketing, right now, but that doesn’t mean forgetting, smart and additional alternatives.

Just as everyone uses the internet, so everyone also uses cars. Cars have long been used as a form of advertisement. There are several reasons why you should consider them and why they are a good contrast to the internet itself.

Mobile

First, of course, is cars are mobile. This means they get to areas and reach potential clients you otherwise might not have. This is ideal as it expands your potential customer database. This is an incentive to make your logo and colours noticeable; keeping your name and slogan catchy, so that a quick Google search will immediately locate you.

Seen widely

Second, cars are of course seen by many people. Aside from being in many locations, the sheer size of the car and its existence on the road means lots of people will see it.

Interactive

Like the internet, the car is also interactive. It has sound and sight and motion; it’s not merely a static ad displaying directly into someone and forcing them to notice. This is an opportunity to be creative with the car – for example, getting creative hooters, fancy lights, or other noticeable additions.

Useful for not just advertising

And, finally, like the internet, the car isn’t solely about advertisement. Cars primarily function for transportation – of goods and people. This means that you’re not failing just because the ad you put on isn’t the main thrust – this means less worry about investment, since cars are almost always useful to people. You probably won’t need the top of the line car, so consider used cars for sale that can serve the necessary function of being an advertising machine.

How Malls Manipulate

Malls really aren’t just four walls that are housing different shops. It is usually a massive area containing multiple shopping outlets and franchises. But, things aren’t that simple as malls require shoppers to purchase as much as possible in as short a space a time. How they manipulate shoppers is worth investigating, so that we can combat it in ourselves and perhaps use it in our businesses.

Music

We tend to use our senses in a complicated way: for example, we don’t just decide we want food based on taste alone. Something can look appetising but taste awful and something can look awful but be delicious. Similarly, we associate positive sense engagement with whatever caused it and other things closely associate with it. This is why malls play positive music that makes us feel comfortable. This way, we associate nice music with nice things. Our rational faculties are lowered a bit, meaning we’re more likely to think something is a good deal when it’s actually normally-priced; we think that we need a product, when we really don’t, due it being so “nice”.

Signage

As signage manufacturers, in South Africa, New York, Hong Kong, will tell you, the most important element of signage is the property of being memorable and functional. Thus, signs that are big don’t necessarily mean they will be remembered: they will just be big. Smart designs and spacing in malls means we learnt to associate particular colours and fonts and smells with particular elements of the mall. Even the spacing of the mall means we keep travelling further to obtain a sign and direction: meaning we pass shops we other might not have in order to acquire a sense of direction of where we are. Thus, one clever way malls do this is to occasionally and unequally space out maps and directions, meaning you’re forced to wander, increasing your chance of buying.

Lighting

You can put things in a better light, literally. Even making them shiny can, for example, slow people down which gives you more time to sell products and increases the chances of customers buying things from you store. People also believe shiny cars drive better, despite the fact that a clean car has little to do with a car’s interior – by definition.

Bigger numbers

If you put $200 next to $400, the former looks better. Indeed, if you priced a tie for $200 by itself, it might look crazy. But put it next to a $400 tie and suddenly it looks amazing and obvious as a purchase. This is known as anchoring, where we pin a specific measurement against a figure provided: in this case it would be in the high triple digits. This is a smart way to get people to pay unnecessary amounts where they otherwise would not have.

All of these are methods malls use that we should watch out for but also utilise in our own attempts to sell and get more customers for our businesses.

The Psychology of Brand Colours

What is the colour of the McDonald’s arch? Can you name the two colours on a Coca-Cola can? How about the colour in which the Facebook logo appears?

If you answered yellow, red and white, and blue, you are correct.

The purpose of the exercise? To illustrate the power of colour in branding. Because if you think McDonald’s, Coca-Cola and Facebook chose their brand colours at random, you’d be wrong.

Colours are enormously powerful and each one in the colour wheel evokes a different emotion in us humans. While these emotions are also shaped by personal experiences, there are universal truths. Yellow, for instance, is associated with fun and warmth. And isn’t that exactly McDonald’s image in a nutshell?

Marketing software company, Marketo, quantifies the importance of colour to brands even further. According to them, studies found that colour influences between 60 and 80 per cent of a consumer’s purchase decision. Further to this they state that the first thing consumers notice about your logo is its colour. The wrong colour could thus mean the difference between making and losing a sale.

So, how should a marketing team go about picking the right corporate or logo colours?

Learn, then mind the meanings of colours

As pointed out earlier, Facebook’s corporate colour is blue. This is also true for Twitter, Standard Bank and Skype and Samsung. And all of these brands use blue because in business blue stands for loyalty, confidence and trustworthiness. They’re all strong feelings that make a consumer feel safe.

Green, as used by Nedbank, BP and more than a handful of eco-friendly brands, represent growth, new beginnings and good health. Other popular colours are orange, as used by Steers, and purple, as can be seen on boxes of Cadbury chocolate. Orange symbolizes youthfulness and vivacity, while purple is associated with royalty and sophistication, which makes it popular with brands that want to be seen as exclusive.

For all the other colours of the rainbow and their associations, look at this article on Entrepeneur.com.

Specific considerations to keep in mind

It is important to keep in mind that certain colours suit certain industries, because the association between the two has been strengthened over the years. The health industry, for instance, goes hand-in-hand with blue, while brown instantly brings to mind the agricultural section. This doesn’t mean these colours can’t be used in other industries, just that they have be applied elsewhere with care.

Be mindful of cultural differences as well, especially if you run an international business. For instance, while white is a pure colour associated with innocence and peace in the West, those in the East associated white with death and sadness. Picking the wrong colour could thus potentially prove disastrous.

There are even differences in how women and men perceive colours. A study done in 2003 found that women listed purple as a favourite colour, while not a single man put it on their list of favourites. Women also preferred tints of a colour, while men leaned towards shades.

Putting it all together…

It’s certain that you have a specific image you want your brand and logo to convey to consumers. Once you’ve studied all of the colours plus their meanings and associated emotions, match the correct colours to what you envisage for your brand.

Now you can make the chosen colour work for your brand in its logo, plus all the applications and places it appears. You want to do it on packaging, on the company website and even the physical building itself. It’s very easy to find suppliers of external wall cladding in South Africa that’ll design the outside of the building to your liking. Don’t forget about the inside too, like the reception area. Every business aspect customers come into contact with should tell them what your brand is about. Remember – this has to potential to lose or win the business customers.

Advertising That Keeps on Giving

In the digital age we live in, it is customary for small businesses to market themselves online. Why? Because it is relatively cheap. Tap into social media and the marketing of a business can in fact be done for free.

The potential problem with this approach is that you could be invisible to people who do not know that your company exist. This is because a poor digital strategy will effectively push your company to the bottom of search results and thus keep it out of sight.

Business owners should not forget that the ‘real’ world still presents plenty of marketing opportunities. And it is quite possible for these to be as cost effective as online solutions. The secret is in picking marketing devices that deliver a continued return on investment. That is, a device that is installed, launched or purchased once, but it secures money or interest for your business on an on-going basis.

Here are four such money-making machines:

Referral program

Few strategies are as effective as word-of-mouth. Take advantage of this by offering existing (satisfied) customers a reward of some kind for every new customer they send your way. The reward can be a discount coupon, free product or a saving off their next purchase. You will have more customers than you know what to do with in no time!

Brand your car

Brand your car with a vehicle wrap or magnetic signs and you’ll take your business wherever you go. This is especially effective if you’re on the road for most of the day. You’ll pass hundreds, if not thousands, of potential customers every month. Steer clear of trying to say too much, however – the simpler, the better.

Signage

If your business does not have a sign yet, it’s best that you soon contact signage manufacturers in South Africa to invest in one. A big, bold sign on the outside of your building increases awareness and attracts new customers. People might drive by your premises more than once before they pop in, but be sure that they will notice your shop and that the business name will slowly but surely settle in their subconscious mind.

Sponsorship

Look towards your community to see if there are any sports teams, events or other such initiatives to sponsor. The initial cost involved might be high, but your brand will enjoy attention whenever the team is playing or the event is happening. Do not pick a once-off event – go with something that happens on a weekly or monthly basis.